Ducati is unlucky, because in just over one week - after the subsequent Styrian Grand Prix which will again be held at the Red Bull Ring - it will have to decide whether to confirm Dovizioso or not, but without having that much more data to do so.
Francesco Bagnaia’s crash at Brno, in fact, deprived them of the opportunity to compare the performance of a rising talent with that of their most successful rider.
Absent Pecco, who because of a fractured tibia will only return at Misano on 13 September, the Ducati Politburo will have to decide with what it has in hand today… i.e. nothing. And hopefully Johann Zarco will forgive us if his podium in Brno adds very little to an undoubtedly strong rider, but who this year is still racing with the GP19 version of the Desmosedici and has not had much time to adapt to the Ducati.
What exactly are the doubts of the Bologna manufacturer? It is a well-known fact that Dovizioso is a fast rider, albeit with alternating current. After all, in the last three seasons he has always been second only to Marc Marquez ... but riding one, if not 'the', best bike on the grid.
Three years of satisfaction, but also a title almost certainly thrown away - in 2017 - when with one zero less in the standings than the #93 he let the title slip by just 37 points. The points lost with a 6th place in America, a 5th place in Spain and Holland, an 8th in Germany, a 6th in the Czech Republic, a 7th in Aragon and a 13th in Australia.
All below-par performances, for one reason or another. Six wins and eight podiums, but with continuous descents into the underworld of the standings, while his rival grinded out an identical number of wins with 12 overall podiums but with a fourth place in Malaysia as the worst result of the season. And as we said, with an extra zero.
What more does Ducati need to know about Dovizioso that it does not already know, with him being in-house since 2013 and having just entered an eighth year of collaboration?
Dovi does not only go fast, he goes very fast, this is a fact. He is a good test rider, but not the best …if it is true that it was only after Lorenzo's controversial arrival in 2017 that the Desmosedici became the Ducati 'for everyone' the following year.
It is also true that, with Jorge at his side, suffering especially in the first year and innocent victim of a bad accident in 2018, Dovizioso gave his best, reaching the pinnacle of his competitive skills. 2018, as well as the previous season, was perhaps the season in which, while the Honda had not yet solved its problems, or perhaps Marquez had not fully switched into gear, Ducati showed that it was the best contender for the title. But it didn't win it.
This is because to win the title you must not only make few mistakes, but also not have favourite circuits.
So now Ducati has to decide at the Red Bull Ring, their ‘motorway’, the circuit where they are unbeaten and where Dovizioso has won twice, but also Iannone and Lorenzo once apiece. As if to say: here it’s mainly the bike that wins… and then the man.
We can’t see any alternatives to the reconfirmation of Andrea Dovizioso in 2021, also because Pecco Bagnaia will still have a factory Ducati next season, if only to gratify sponsor Phillip Morris with something new, but since the other ‘reds’ have been on the sidelines for some time now, it’s more a question of philosophy. But also, of economics: there are riders on the market who have offer to race the GP21 at one eighth of the cost of Dovizioso's retainer.
It’s a question of whether or not Ducati wants to inaugurate a new course. Make room for another young rider in Pramac or promote Zarco. In short, giving a turning point to well-known performances that have not yet seen a turning point even in this year without the presence of Marc Marquez.
For this reason, Dovizioso’s imperative now is to win both the Austrian and Styria Grand Prix on Ducati’s ‘home’ track to be confirmed, but if that were the case and we hope it will be, what else do they need to know about him at Borgo Panigale?
Never as in this case, whether Ducati will choose in his place Bagnaia, Zarco, the name on everyone’s lips Jorge Lorenzo or whoever else, will it be a matter of the heart.
Forget the data, please…