Andrea Dovizioso expected Marquez to change teams, hints at retirement

Andrea Dovizioso expresses his surprise at seeing Marc Marquez stick with Honda for four seasons, hints that the 2020 MotoGP season could be his last

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati MotoGP), Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati MotoGP), Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)

Andrea Dovizioso has admitted he was surprised to see MotoGP rival Marc Marquez commit to another four seasons with the Repsol Honda team, expecting him to change teams to assure his legacy as one of the greatest riders of all time.

In a wide-ranging interview with Sky Sports Italia, the Ducati rider also hinted he could walk away from the sport at the end of the 2020 season.

Now one of MotoGP’s most experienced riders, Dovizioso’s career has peaked in its latter stages, proving the closest rival to Marquez in recent years by finishing runners-up for the past three seasons.

However, as a measure of how difficult it was to defeat the Spaniard in 2019, Dovizioso – who took the title fight down to the wire in 2017 – achieved his highest-ever points total last year despite finishing a mammoth 151 points shy of his rival.

With six-time MotoGP World Champion Marquez now well on the way to assuring his status as the most successful rider of all-time, he penned a deal with Honda for another four years over the winter to take him to the end of 2024.

The length of the deal was a surprise to Dovizioso, who expected Marquez to motivate himself by joining another team.

“I am very surprised by the four year period, I thought the opposite would happen. But behind these important decisions there are some behind the scenes that we do not know. I thought that he would have changed the bikes, but he will have had his motivations and I take my hat off for what he has managed to do so far.”

Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati MotoGP
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati MotoGP

‘No plans for the future’ – Andrea Dovizioso

Meanwhile, Dovizioso has given his clearest hint yet that his immediate future may not involve either Ducati or MotoGP.

For now, Dovizioso doesn’t have a contract for 2020 and despite being Ducati’s most successful rider in the series since MotoGP, it is understood there is a fractious relationship between himself and top brass. As such he has been linked with a move to Aprilia for 2021, but the man himself says his future may not involve MotoGP at all.

“I don’t have well-defined plans for the future, it will depend on many factors. 

“I don’t know how much I will still be racing in MotoGP, for example I don’t have a contract yet for next year.”

He goes on to say he wouldn’t swap to WorldSBK because he is ‘used to racing with prototypes’ but hints he’d consider a career in motocross or explore four-wheel options following a decent one-off outing with Audi in the DTM German touring car series last year. 

Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati

Has the time come for Andrea Dovizioso to leave MotoGP?

Given his best years in MotoGP have come in the most recent seasons, it’s strange to think Dovizioso is considering walking away from it all.

From the privateer JiR Honda to Repsol Honda, over to Tech 3 Yamaha and finally Ducati, Dovizioso has been one of the most metronomically consistent MotoGP riders of all time. He’s never finished a season lower than eighth and on eight occasions ended the year inside the overall top five.

Despite this, many have wondered whether Dovizioso has that final 5% needed to challenge properly for a MotoGP World Championship and think his best chances have already slipped away as the competition closes up around him and Marquez hits another gear.

Moreover, Ducati’s attempts to lure another big-name rider from 2021 sends out a rather telling sign that it is thinking along similar lines.

If the relationship with Ducati is untenable, would Dovizioso really gain as much satisfaction from motivating himself with another manufacturer or find greater pleasure in ending on a relative high…?
 

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