Agostini, Rossi... and Dovi!

Qatar GP winner becomes the equal-third most successful Italian in terms of wins after another final corner showdown with Marquez

After victory at the 2019 VisitQatar Grand Prix, Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) draws level with Max Biaggi in terms of the number of premier class wins – 13.

This means ‘DesmoDovi’ is now the equal-third most successful Italian rider in terms of premier class Grand Prix wins, sitting behind MotoGP™ Legend Giacomo Agostini (68) and nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (89). But what did Dovizioso make of the explosive opening race of the season?

“I’m so happy. The strategy was clear for me and really good,” began the Ducati rider, who launched from P2 off the line to lead into the first corner – the much-talked-about Desmosedici ‘holeshot device’ working to good effect.

“I stopped Rins every time because he wanted to be faster too soon, and that was bad for the tyre and I was right,” continued the Italian. “I stop him every time, fortunately I have more power on the straight. I lose a little bit of time in the middle of the corner because his speed in the middle of the corner is amazing, but I was able to overtake him every time and stop him and continue to save the tyre, that was the key to try and put Marc on the limit in the last few laps. And that was the key, I’m so happy I was able to do that.”

2019 saw an almost identical finish to what we witnessed this time 12 months ago. Dovizioso vs Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) on the final corner of the final lap at Losail. But Dovi explains what was different this time around:

“It was good because it helped me to understand his bad situation on the rear tyre,” said the number 04 rider, explaining the situation when Marquez overtook him. “I stayed at the front for the entire race so I couldn’t know the positive and negative parts. My strategy was clear, I had to overtake him immediately, push because he didn’t really have the same speed as me and that’s why I was able to win.

“He was able to try again in the last corner, and he is so good with that. But in the end he did a mistake. Only Marc in that situation is thinking about overtaking riders, all other riders – no. So I did a perfect lap to put him on the limit, but at the end you have to be ready with him in this battle because he is like this.

“It was different. I didn’t expect him on the entry to the last corner. But I did like, a dummy, and in that situation he had to release the brake because he could hit me. So that was the key and for sure he was too fast to stop the bike. So we were very close on the entry but in the end it was easier for me to stop him on the exit. Last year he was able to brake so good, so good and stop the bike, last year I was closer when I changed the line. This year the exit was easier.”

Dovi was then asked if the battle for the title is once again between himself and Marquez:  

“I hope so but I don’t think it will be like this. There are a lot of fast riders and the bikes changed a little bit so…I would like but I think it will be harder this year for everybody.”

And what about Argentina? A track the Ducati struggles on historically…

“Yes I think we will struggle in the next two rounds and I think it will be very important for us to make a good result and it will be very important for us to improve the bike because in the middle of the corner we are too slow. We are better in other parts for sure but it depends on the track and the tyres during the weekend.” 

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