Following back to back weekends in San Marino, the MotoGP™ World Championship heads to Barcelona for the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, with Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso leading the way in the overall standings.
It has been a difficult few weeks for DesmoDovi, as he failed to crack the top six in the Misano double-header, and he hasn’t seen a podium finish since the Austrian Grand Prix. But keeping in theme with the unpredictable nature of the season, he leads the way in the Championship standings, with the 2020 campaign seeing six different top step finishers to date.
“In the last two Grand Prix we have not been competitive enough, but we tried to see the positive side of the last two races in Misano; we are the leaders of the Championship and everything is open. We still lack speed so in order to compete for the title we can’t waste any more time,” says the Championship leader.
Only a single point separates Dovi from Yamaha pair Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), while Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir has catapulted himself into contention after two brilliant races by the Adriatic Seaside, despite not having a race win under his belt as of yet this year.
It was a difficult week for Ducati, with Dovi’s underwhelming race form since his Austrian GP masterclass, Pecco Bagnaia’s (Pramac Racing) heartbreaking crash in the second GP in Misano which cost him a maiden premier class victory, Jack Miller’s (Pramac Racing) early retirement due to a freak incident involving Quartararo’s visor tear-off and Danilo Petrucci’s (Ducati Team) inconsistency on race day – all compounding a below-par return in Round 7. However, with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya next up on the list, it provides a fresh set of challenges and headaches for teams and riders, but more importantly, an opportunity for Ducati.
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Petrucci sits 14th in the Championship standings and despite previous success in Barcelona, is wary of the potential dangers the track offers: "After two tough Grands Prix, we are back racing on a circuit where last year I managed to get on the podium. The season is definitely not going as we had hoped. Still, we won't give up: at Montmeló, we will try to improve the tenth place of Misano, but the conditions that we will find there will be very different: the asphalt and temperatures could prove decisive for our performance. The key will be to be able to interpret these two factors well."
It’s a circuit where the Italian manufacturer have had joy in recent years, adding to Petrucci’s podium finish in 2019, Jorge Lorenzo rode to victory there in 2018 and Dovizioiso himself won there in 2017 as he was at the centre of a Championship battle with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team).
Marquez took title victory then, and in the process earning his fourth of six MotoGP™ titles, but with the reigning World Champion out of contention for the season, Barcelona, the home circuit of the Champion, offers up the perfect platform to send a title warning shot to the rest of the pack.
Ducati will be hoping that it will be one of their own, none more so than current leader Dovizioso, as he continues his search to become the second Ducati rider to claim a World Championship.
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