Andrea Dovizioso bemoans ‘abyss’ of a Yamaha transition on return to MotoGP…

Experienced Andrea Dovizioso concedes he will need to change riding style to adapt to the tricky Yamaha M1 after finding transition tougher than expected

Andrea Dovizioso - RNF Racing Yamaha M1

Andrea Dovizioso says it is ‘amazing’ what a rider has to do on a Yamaha M1 to lap competitively as he conceded his transition from Ducati is proving much tougher than he had anticipated.

The Italian is returning to the MotoGP World Championship full-time in 2022 as part of the satellite WithU RNF Racing team - with whom he started the final few races of 2021 under its erstwhile Petronas SRT guise - after taking time out from the sport upon leaving Ducati in 2020.

A triple runner-up to Marc Marquez and 14-time MotoGP race winner, Dovizioso - with 234 MotoGP starts and counting - is now the most experienced rider on the grid in the wake of Valentino Rossi’s retirement.

However, despite being upgraded to a 2022-spec Yamaha M1 for this season, he says he has struggled to find his feet on the machine compared with the Ducati Desmosedicis he campaigned for eight seasons.

Ironically, Dovizioso has previously lauded for the way he managed to get the best from the famously temperamental Ducati package - a philosophy that stumped the likes of Rossi, Cal Crutchlow, Jorge Lorenzo and Marco Melandri over the years - but coming the other way has been eye-opening for him.

In the afternoon (after FP2, where he was 11th fastest) I was struggling a lot and the grip was disastrous, even if others had the new medium, while I had the new one,” he told 

“My pace is therefore not true, but the most important thing is to have set the fastest lap behind Franco Morbidelli (second). It’s amazing how Yamaha riders have to ride to be fast with the M1.

“My method is different and when I found myself behind Franco, the differences emerged. There is an abyss, but this is a confirmation of what I think about the characteristics of the bike.

“Fabio and Franco are used to riding following a certain style, even if it is particular to ride in MotoGP this way. Franco doesn’t pull the M1 up too much in traction and only makes speed in the middle of the corner. There is no possibility of accelerating when exiting corners.

Though Dovizioso has previously campaigned a Yamaha M1 in MotoGP with success - finishing fourth in the overall standings aboard the satellite Tech 3 entry in 2012 - he concedes he will have to change his riding style if he wants to be competitive.

“I have to keep focusing on style, developing a different method. Right now I have to do twice as much work as the others.”