Dovizioso aims fire at Dall’Igna, says Ducati chose Lorenzo over Marquez

Andrea Dovizioso's post-Ducati tell-all interview reveals more about the fractious relationship he endured with boss Gigi Dall'Igna in recent years

Former Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso has opened up about his time with the Italian manufacturer, revealing more about the fractious internal issues that led to his departure and claiming it turned down the opportunity to poach Marc Marquez from Honda because boss Gigi Dall’Igna wanted Jorge Lorenzo instead.

The Italian scored 14 victories and was thrice runner-up for Ducati during an eight season spell with the firm but heads into 2021 with no ride at all after opting to exit in the wake of an increasingly fraught personal relationship with Dall’Igna.

With Dovizioso now officially out of contract, he gave a wide-ranging interview to Gazzetta dello Sport that goes some way to revealing more about the discussions that made the relationship so untenable.

Among the key takeaways from the interview, Dovizioso says his fate was sealed as early as 2019 when a ‘confrontation’ between himself and Dall’Igna between the German and Austrian MotoGP rounds he says led to him being frozen out of any decisions. 

“It started as a technical meeting, but it became a confrontation between the two of us and, I don't know how to describe it, Gigi felt... hit, attacked. For me he closed the doors there, but he closed them while keeping quiet.

“Gigi [recently] stated that in that famous meeting held in mid-2019 between Sachsenring and Austria, he understood that it was over

He goes on to add that he was never offered a convincing 2021 MotoGP contract from Ducati and says he would have considered an offer from KTM more seriously had received more clarity about his future

"Let's say that there was no transparent behaviour, unlike Petrucci, who was told before the season that there would be no room. I would have considered the KTM possibility differently.

"There was never a real proposal. It was said that Dovizioso asked for this or Ducati could give this... all lies. We never negotiated, above all an offer never arrived. And, therefore, we have never rejected a low one. It is confirmation that in the 2019 meeting it was over for Gigi.”

“You can’t go against Dall’Igna, riders under pressure”

Dovizioso goes on to emphasise the influence Dall’Igna - who steered Aprilia to two WorldSBK titles before joining Ducati’s MotoGP effort - ultimately has on the direction of the team with decisions despite some proving questionable.

One such example is his influence on a decision not to sign then two-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez in 2016 for the 2017 season because he personally favoured Lorenzo. 

"These [rider] decisions come only from Gigi. We talk about Ducati but it's wrong, all the decisions made since he has been there, are his. Like Lorenzo instead of Marquez in 2017. At the beginning of 2016 there was the possibility to take him, but Gigi had already decided he wanted Lorenzo.

“To get along with Gigi you can't go against him. Instead, by supporting certain ideas, we went into conflict. Other manufacturers have held press conferences apologising to the riders [Yamaha in Austria 2018], we never.

"The rider in Ducati has more and more pressure. 'You can do more, you can do more', and it's true. And regardless of whether you are second in the World Championship or the first or third Ducati, this is transmitted. Well ok, but as soon as you [struggle]... boom, disaster. One race, two. One year, two. You struggle to be relaxed."

Lorenzo would go on to spend two disappointing seasons with Ducati before ironically joining Marquez at Repsol Honda for the 2019 MotoGP season. However, a dismal injury-ridden year led to him hanging up his leathers at the end of the year altogether, while Marquez cruised to a sixth MotoGP title.
 

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