Dovi wary of ‘stronger’ rivals but confident on Ducati in 300th GP

Andrea Dovizioso expects Ducati to shine again on home soil but admits rivals can make a bigger impact at Mugello this season.
Dovi wary of ‘stronger’ rivals but confident on Ducati in 300th GP

Ahead of his 300th grand prix, Andrea Dovizioso is confident Ducati has the form to make it a hat-trick of home wins at Mugello for the Italian MotoGP, even if he expects harder challenge from rivals this year.

Dovizioso comes into the sixth round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship trailing series leader Marc Marquez by eight points but is identified as a narrow favourite at Mugello where he was a winner in 2017 for Ducati and finished second behind then team-mate Jorge Lorenzo last year.

With the Ducati’s superior top speed giving it an advantage on Mugello’s long home straight, Dovizioso is confident his package is still well suited to the Italian venue.

However, he concedes the challenge of rivals – namely Marquez on the Repsol Honda, the Yamahas and Alex Rins on the Suzuki – have made steps forward too.

“For sure, it is our goal this weekend [to win],” he said. “In the last two years we did something really good, I think the Ducati can be competitive here this weekend but I expect the competition to be stronger this year - Rins, Yamaha, Marc – so I think we have a lot of riders able to fight for the podium and victory.

“We still have to improve some things but everyone expects a Ducati victory, so we have to be smart and take the maximum.”

Though Dovizioso is coming up to 300 races deep into his grand prix career, his greatest successes have come very recently, namely his aforementioned win in 2017 on home soil and his run to the runners-up spot overall 2017 and 2018.

Indeed, despite a gap of seven years between his first MotoGP win at the 2009 British MotoGP to his second success at the 2016 Malaysian MotoGP, Dovizioso has now accumulated 13 successes at the highest level.

“Fortunately, the last two or three years I have won a lot of races and there were lots of important moments, but the victory in 2017 here it was one of the first times I felt I was part of something bigger. To do it in your home race in front of the home fans is amazing.”