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16 days ago
By motogp.com

Dovi: “We’re a title contender from the beginning”

Italian ready for an assault on the crown

“This is the first year we’re a title contender from the beginning. Last year, it wasn’t like this.”

Dovi: “We’re a title contender from the beginning”

Ominous words from Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in the midst of another overtly positive interview during the 2018 preseason, after having come so close as more of a dark horse contender in 2017. With pace at all venues and good things to say about the majority of what he’s tested from the Borgo Panigale factory heading into 2018, the number 04 is looking to pick up where he left off – and go one better.

So what’s the effect of being a contender, and knowing you are? “It makes me happier, and I feel good,” he smiles. “We’ve worked well in tests until now, normally it’s difficult to test everything you need to, but we’ve done everything perfectly. I’m happy with everything Ducati have brought over winter.”

‘DesmoDovi’ has also been, often, one of the first to pack up on days of testing – having finished the program ahead of schedule. It’s not quite perfect in every aspect, as nothing ever is – but the positivity keeps flowing.

“There are still a few areas where I’m not completely happy but on this track our bike works really well. Our speed is really good and we did the best lap on our long run – well, we did 12 laps, so not a very long run. But I was very happy, I was able to keep good pace. In the past our bike worked well on this track and now it looks even better.”

Even better would be ‘DesmoDovi’ going one better than the P2 he’s taken at the venue before. So could he start the season with a win? That positivity doesn’t fade when running through any of the day’s work.

“I’m happy with what we did; we compared the new chassis and there are positives and negatives – we did the long run on the new chassis and it’s not clear what we’ll use yet but there’s a lot of time left for everyone to work still!”

Final sign off? You guessed it: “I’m very happy.”

See if the Italian can take back the top on Saturday, as the final day of preseason fires up from 13:00 to 21:00 local time (GMT +3).