Dovizioso: Ducati needs a strategy for the future

Andrea Dovizioso calls on Ducati to address the issue inherent in his bike’s “DNA”; suggests the factory would be better placed working toward 2020 than focussing on smaller short-term gains.
Dovizioso: Ducati needs a strategy for the future

Andrea Dovizioso has provided a damning verdict on Ducati’s current struggles and has urged factory engineers to finally address the “DNA of the bike” that led to another tough MotoGP race weekend in Germany.

The Italian described this recent three-race spell without a podium as a “critical moment” for Ducati as he once again achieved “the maximum” result (fifth place after qualifying 13th) while losing yet more ground to title rival Marc Marquez.

His attempts at rallying the Bologna factory into a response stemmed from the overwhelming evidence on display at Assen and the Sachsenring: the turning issues of Ducati’s GP19 are so acute, it is in danger of losing out in the championship fight to Maverick Viñales’ Yamaha and Alex Rins’ Suzuki.

Dovizioso even went as far as giving the impression this year’s title fight – he now trails Marquez by 58 points – is done, and opined Ducati “needs a strategy for the future” to address the current shortcomings of the Desmosedici machine.

“It was a difficult weekend,” he began. “The race always shows the reality. Practice sometimes you see some riders fast. The race is the race. At the end me and Danilo fought for fourth. We were lucky because two fast riders crashed. At the end we got the maximum.

“This is the positive thing from the riders. But not the speed that we have. The gap is too big. We know Sachsenring is bad for our bike but at Assen it was very similar. Our speed at this moment is not worse but the difference with the competitors is bigger than the past and this is bad if we want to think about the championship.

“Apart from thinking about the championship Marc is on another level, Marquez and Honda. Apart from him there are a lot of fast riders faster than us. It’s not so good, the situation.

“But I’m not too surprised because the limit is always the same. Ducati is working so hard. They never stop. From the second year I was in Ducati they work very, very well. But I think we arrive in the moment that it’s clearer in the past we have to be focussed on the turning because we are quite good in some other areas.

“But that area is really, really bad. We finished the tyres, but we finished the tyres because we had to use it to be fast. We are too slow in the middle of the corners and the only way to go faster is to accelerate.

“If you accelerate better, you use the tyre. Already from the practice we were a bit slower. If you are a bit slower and you have to use the tyre then at the end of the race the difference is big.

“I think we need a strategy for the future, not for the moment. When we speak about turning it’s very difficult, and it’s the reason why we couldn’t find anything at the moment. We have to be more involved about that.

“I think it’s six years I’ve been speaking about that. After the last two good years, I think now we arrive in a critical moment when we need that because the competitor become better and better.

“It’s clear when we fight with other bikes, also on the TV you can see the difference in the middle of the corners and the reality is bigger. I think we need a strategy for the future.

“We have to create a different situation and be focussed more on that than the other things because we lose too much in that point.”

With Viñales finally showing real consistency and Rins fast everywhere, does Dovizioso fear second in the championship could also be slipping away?

“Sure,” he said. “For sure. It will be easy [for Rins, Viñales to finish ahead in the championship] if we continue like this because we don’t have that speed and there remain a lot of races.

“But our goal is to win the championship. It’s not too important to arrive second or fourth at this moment. We already did twice second position at the end of the championship. We want to fight for the victory. If we want to fight for victory we have to be better. It’s clear.”

And are the turning capabilities of the GP19 worse than previous incarnations of the Desmosedici? That isn’t the case, he explained. The problem is Ducati’s principle challengers – Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha – have made such steps forward with their packages in 2019.

“The competitors are stronger. That’s it,” he said. “When you have to do a fast race from the beginning to the end every bike is on the limit. You have to use the tyre to be fast. That didn’t happen last year. It’s so easy to understand that.”