MotoGP

Is Andrea Dovizioso eyeing a return to Honda in MotoGP?

Ducati man Andrea Dovizioso has enquired about a possible return to the Honda MotoGP team, according to HRC boss Alberto Puig

Andrea Dovizioso enquired about the possibility of returning to the Honda MotoGP team, according to HRC team manager Alberto Puig.

One of the most experienced riders on the MotoGP grid, Ducati rider Dovizioso has emerged as the closest rival to Marc Marquez in recent seasons, finishing runner-up to the Spaniard three years on the bounce in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

However, with his current Ducati contract coming to a conclusion at the end of the 2020 season, the Italian has admitted he is uncertain as to what his future plans are and insists he will take his time to decide on the next move.

It has been known Dovizioso has a somewhat fractious relationship with Ducati MotoGP boss Gigi Dall’Igna, though his own manager Simone Battistella insisted recently that it helps drive the team forward.

Now, however, Puig has revealed the Italian has enquired about the possibility of returning to HRC colours in response to Dovizioso saying he was ‘surprised’ to learn Marquez had signed a new deal that would take him to the end of 2024.

“Some time ago, not long ago Andrea Dovizioso came to us and asked if he could ride for Honda again and now, suddenly, he wonders why Marc has re-signed? I don’t understand it. He knows what I’m talking about…”

Is Honda a realistic option for Andrea Dovizioso?

Whether ‘not long ago’ refers to last year when it became obvious Jorge Lorenzo was unlikely to stay beyond his original contract conclusion at the end of 2020, or the previous contract cycle starting 2019, isn’t clear.

Dovizioso held a long-standing relationship with Honda even prior to MotoGP, winning the 2004 125cc championship on a Honda RS125R before finishing twice runner-up in 250cc on a Honda RS250RW in 2006 and 2007.

He carried that through to MotoGP on the privateer JiR Team Scot bike and surprised everyone with a run fifth overall in his maiden campaign. That led to a move to the factory Repsol Honda outfit, but despite scoring his maiden win in 2009 at Donington Park, results – though consistent – weren’t outstanding. This led to a brief move to Tech 3 Yamaha and onto Ducati where he has enjoyed the majority of his success.

However, the question mark over Dovizioso’s future remains despite his performances over the past three years, with some questioning whether he has the ‘final push’ to really take the fight to Marquez for the title on equal terms.

Coupled to the aforementioned behind-the-scenes issues and Ducati’s clear attempts to get a new number one rider into the team for 2021, it is thought Dovizioso is canvassing for options.

Unfortunately for him, the only likelihood of a move to Honda – which would surely be factory or nothing – could ultimately be scuppered by the current suspension of racing.

Indeed, though Alex Marquez only has a single-year deal right now, it’s likely he will be given more time to settle in regardless of whether he sparkles in whatever races we do eventually get this year.

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