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Step-by-step with Andrea Dovizioso

Step-by-step with Andrea Dovizioso

Repsol Honda rider reveals faith in Honda and analytical approach.

Andrea Dovizioso has been inseparably linked with Honda during his time in the World Championship, from his start in the 125cc class to his eventual progression to MotoGP. The Italian explained his step-by-step trajectory in a revealing interview with Honda Motor Company, reproduced below.

“My first full-size motorcycle was a 125cc Grand Prix bike, and it was a very traumatic experience,” says Dovizioso. “I was asked to race the bike in 2000 by Fiorenzo Caponera’s team because I was the fastest kid in pocketbike. But a GP bike is too big a jump from pocketbike because it isn’t easy to ride; it’s so difficult to use the engine because the rpm range is so narrow. I tested this Aprilia GP bike three times at Maggiore during the winter before the 2000 season, and each time I went very slow. In the end the team said I wasn’t fast enough to race.”

“Every weekend I played football, ride motocross and ride pocketbike, but Caponera told me I needed to stop football and focus on roadracing. I’d already had a couple of try-outs with local football teams.” But the enthusiastic teenager wasn’t worried when he was told he wasn’t fast enough to race the 125cc GP bike. “When you are young you don’t think like that, you don’t think it’s all over,” he says with a wry smile. “Within a week another team near my home gave me a bike to ride in the Aprilia Challenge, for 125cc streetbikes. I won my first race on the bike and then I won the championship!”

“This has always been my style, ever since I raced in pocketbike. It’s my character, that’s all. Of course, my father Antonio [a keen club motocross rider, even now at the age of 55] helped me think like this. When you start racing in pocketbike your father is everything. He is your mechanic, your driver, your teacher, everything. Thinking hard is important in every sport, of course, not just in bike racing. Whatever you are doing it’s important to understand everything and to think about everything so you can improve.”

“My race weekends are very different now compared to what they used to be in 250cc and 125cc. From eight in the morning to eight or nine at night you are always working on something, especially the electronic controls systems. However much time you spend thinking, it’s never enough, because you can always do more. In 250cc and 125cc it’s not like this.”

Dovizioso’s race preparations begin immediately after the previous race. “When I get home I watch the race on TV and study every practice session which can help me learn something new before the next race. At every race I give myself a target because it is always important to keep improving. At the moment I am working with a new team, so we are working very hard to improve my feeling with the bike and to improve the set-up. Of course, I don’t consider this to be real work, because it’s what I’ve always wanted to do with my life!”

In between races Dovizioso keeps himself fit in the gym and on the motocross track. “When I am at home I ride motocross as often as I can. For me it’s the most fun. I love everything about it, from leaving home to go to the track to the actual process of riding. When I am riding my MotoGP bike you have to think very hard, you can’t just ride, with motocross you can just ride and have fun with the bike.”

When he does motocross, Dovizioso rides a Honda CRF250 and Honda a CRF450 and he’s spent pretty much the last nine years of his life on Honda machinery. He won the 2001 125 European Championship and the 2004 125cc World Championship on Honda RS125Rs, then twice finished second in the 250cc World Championship aboard an RS250RW. During his time in 250cc he turned down an offer from the Aprilia factory to ride its 250cc, which has dominated the series in recent years.

“At the beginning it was coincidence that I rode Hondas, but then it was my plan because I believe in Honda. When I was riding 250cc I had the possibility to go to Aprilia but I wanted to stay with Honda because I believed in them for MotoGP.”

Interview courtesy of Honda Motor Company.

MotoGP, 2009, Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda Team

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