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New Faces for 2008: Andrea Dovizioso

New Faces for 2008: Andrea Dovizioso

One of the trio of new faces arriving on the 2008 MotoGP grid from the 250cc category, Andrea Dovizioso is a former 125cc World Champion and a highly talented young rider.

One of the trio of new faces arriving on the 2008 MotoGP grid from the 250cc category, Andrea Dovizioso is a former 125cc World Champion and a highly talented young rider.

After six full seasons in the smaller classes the diligent and consistent 21 year-old gets his big break in the World Championship onboard a satellite Honda in the new year - with newly formed MotoGP venture JiR Team Scot, comprising members of Dovizioso's former 250cc team and Gianluca Montiron's 2007 Konica Minolta Honda outfit.

‘Dovi', as he is nicknamed, began riding at the age of just four years-old under the watchful eye of his father Antonio and immediately began to demonstrate a passion and talent for both mini-moto and mini-motocross – winning two mini-moto national championships at an early age.

The young Andrea was also an excellent footballer, but eventually decided to focus on road-racing and it was soon to prove a frugal choice.

In the very first event of the 2000 Aprilia Challenge at Misano a 14 year-old Dovizioso ran away with the race and went on to hold the lead throughout the series, taking a well-deserved championship win. The following year he went on to build on that success by winning the 125cc European and Italian Championships, and earned himself a place on the 125cc World Championship grid for 2002.

That action packed year in 2001 also saw Dovizioso make his Grand Prix debut as a wildcard at Mugello, but having qualified in 23rd place he did not finish the race. A difficult first experience was soon put behind him in his first full season, with tour top ten finishes and a creditable 42 points gained in the colours of Team Scot Honda - under Cirano Mularoni who still manages Dovizioso to this day.

A handful of podiums, including a near-miss on a first GP win in South Africa, 13 top ten finishes and 157 points earned in 2003 made the unassuming Italian teenager a serious challenger to the big boys and it was not long before he delivered on that promise.

In 2004 Dovizioso rode his new RS125R Team Scot Honda to the World title in supreme style with eight pole positions, five wins, five second places and only one result outside the top tour – due to a puncture and DNF at Estoril when comfortably leading the race. At 18 years of age he was the 125cc World title holder, having secured the crown by a 91 point margin.

Moving into the quarter litre class as a World Champion in 2005 there were more podiums to celebrate, as Dovizioso's first 250cc campaign concluded with him sat third in the general classification.

‘Close but no cigar' is a fitting description for the two subsequent seasons for the Honda rider, with a certain Jorge Lorenzo dominating the 250cc category for the last two years onboard a highly competitive Aprilia package, whilst Dovizioso has twice been runner-up behind the Spaniard.

Remarkably consistent in both 2006 and 2007, Dovizioso won two races and took 11 podiums last year before matching that win tally and earning 10 podium finished this season – pushing Lorenzo hard as they battled for the title on both occasions.

Post 2007 season tests in Valencia, Sepang and Jerez gave Dovizioso his first taste of the MotoGP experience, as he got to grips with the Honda RC212V and familiarized himself with the new the new JiR Team Scot team set-up.

Indeed, Dovizioso showed good early signs on the 800cc prototype and was able to lap fourth fastest on the last day of 2007 MotoGP testing in Jerez, meaning that he will certainly be highly motivated about testing the updated 2008 Honda machine which he will receive in the new year.

MotoGP, 2008, Andrea Dovizioso

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