Andrea Dovizioso will accept Repsol Honda call to replace Marc Marquez

Andrea Dovizioso would ride Marc Marquez's Repsol Honda in the 2021 MotoGP World Championship if the six-time title winner is still sidelined with injury

Marc Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso - Honda, Ducati

Andrea Dovizioso would step in to replace Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda if the six-time MotoGP World Champion is unable to start the 2021 MotoGP season due to ongoing complications from an arm injury.

The Spaniard has not thrown a leg over a race machine since July’s Andalucian MotoGP - round two of the 2020 season - which came just days after undergoing surgery to correct a fractured arm sustained in an accident at the previous Spanish MotoGP.

Since then Marquez had undergone two more surgeries, the most recent of which was in December, giving credence to speculation the injury could prove difficult to heal entirely.

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For the time being Marquez is on course to start the 2021 MotoGP season in March, while he will have been buoyed by news the traditional pre-season tests in Sepang - due in February - have been cancelled, to buy him more recovery time.

With Repsol Honda no doubt keeping an eye on all eventualities, the question has been raised as to who could replace him with one name above all standing out in Andrea Dovizioso.

The Italian - runner-up to Marquez in 2017, 2018 and 2019 -  is out of work as it stands after severing ties with Ducati at the end of the 2020 MotoGP season and being left with no viable alternative options.

A former Repsol Honda rider himself, though Dovizioso has brushed off potential interest prior to his Ducati contract ending on December 31st, he - via his manager Simone Battistella - has for the first time acknowledged he would accept any offer from the team to replace Marquez if needed.

"To get to know each other and understand how Andrea is doing with that bike, I would say yes," Battistella told SkySport.it. "We are talking about a winning bike and a rider who has always been very strong in Qatar; the combination would intrigue fans…

“[If the call from Honda comes] Andrea is really ready," Battistella said. "He is training for motocross at an amateur level but he is doing it with such intensity as if he were in full pre-season MotoGP. We will work this year to fully return to 2022."

Does Andrea Dovizioso have other 2021 MotoGP options?

As baffling as it seems to have such a successful, highly-regarded rider on the sidelines, Dovizioso’s options beyond Ducati looked slim even without the late call to part ways in August, given the 2021 MotoGP grid already looked fairly full.

With Ducati itself already owning six of the 22 grid spots, no space at Yamaha and Suzuki, and Honda oversubscribed in effect by having signed Pol Espargaro, only Aprilia and KTM are really left.

The latter is certainly an interesting option. The Italian has previously said he would have taken an approach from KTM much more seriously had he believed his Ducati career was ending, a gripe that no doubt intensified as the Austrian team emerged as potential front runners in a breakthrough 2020 campaign.

Though there is clearly momentum behind race winners Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira in the factory team, the sister Tech 3 outfit perhaps doesn’t have the same clout right now with the improving but inexperienced Iker Lecuona, plus new signing Danilo Petrucci, whom Dovizioso comfortably out-performed at Ducati.

It’s also worth pointing out here that Dovizioso has previously competed with Tech 3 when it ran Yamaha machinery and proved a regular podium winner.

What’s clear though is that the moment any rider becomes injured in 2021, Dovizioso will be on every team’s speed dial. He may not be on track much, but a super-sub showing could be the making of Dovizioso’s career from 2022 and beyond, even at this stage in his career.
 

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