Dovizioso: Greatest DTM challenge racing line, finding limits

Andrea Dovizioso says adapting to the Audi DTM car’s racing lines and capabilities compared to his Ducati MotoGP machine is his biggest test
Dovizioso: Greatest DTM challenge racing line, finding limits

Andrea Dovizioso says adapting to the Audi DTM car’s racing lines and capabilities compared to his more familiar Ducati MotoGP machine has become his biggest test.

The Ducati rider has stepped up his DTM preparations with a one-and-a-half days of testing with Audi at Misano ahead of his special one-off outing at the Italian circuit next month.

Dovizioso, who heads to Mugello this weekend for his home MotoGP round before his DTM outing, says the most difficult part of adapting from two wheels to four was changing his mindset on the racing lines at Misano given his wealth of experience around the circuit in Grand Prix racing.

“The greatest challenge for me was the racing line. It’s of course completely different with the RS 5 DTM compared to the Ducati Desmosedici,” Dovizioso said. “I was amazed at how easy it is to control the racing car when the rear gets twitchy. Even at low revs, the engine has enough power to control minor slides.

“It was huge fun! I just love new challenges. And driving a powerful racing car like the RS 5 DTM at the limit on a full-scale race track was definitely a new experience for me. It was truly enjoyable.”

Dovizioso also feels adapting to the limits of the Audi RS 5 DTM machine took time due to his lack of experience but guidance from two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom he felt clear progress was made over the test.

“The biggest challenge for me was to reach the limit in the fast corners, especially in the first six or seven laps,” he explained. “I simply lacked a feel for it.

“The DTM race cars generate so much downforce that theoretically you can do so much more. It’s very different than the MotoGP bike.

“I knew that the DTM drivers tackle certain corners flat-out. When I drove those passages myself with the RS 5 DTM, I thought it was impossible. But then Mattias helped me a lot.

“The support I received was simply overwhelming. We made perfect use of the time we had available for testing. We not only turned a lot of laps but also simulated many situations that will crop up during the race, for instance, my starts, pit stops and tyre management.”

Despite his growing confidence Dovizioso has played down setting any outright targets and wants to appreciate the experience with Audi.

“As far as the end result is concerned I have no expectations,” he said. “The level of competition in the DTM is notorious for being extremely high. I’ve watched a lot of races and they all seem very close.

“I’ll try to keep up with the field, but that’s about it in my view. In many situations experience is needed, which I obviously don’t have. For this reason, I’m not going to set myself unrealistic goals; I’m just going to enjoy it.”

Dovizioso is the first DTM guest driver in 2019 following the introduction of one-off additional drivers in the championship.

Reigning World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier (Mercedes), ex-F1 driver and Paralympic gold medal-winner Alex Zinardi (BMW) and Ekstrom (Audi) starred as the wildcard drivers in 2018.

Dovizioso takes Pietro Fittipaldi’s race seat at Audi Sport Team WRT for Misano as the Brazilian driver will be in Canada acting as Haas reserve driver in Formula 1.