Andrea Dovizioso scores VICTORY at ItalianGP ! 🏁🇮🇹
June 05, 2017
Andrea Dovizioso began race day at his home Italian Grand Prix without a complete lap in morning warm-up, but finished it with his first ever dry MotoGP win.
The Ducati star, who qualified on the front row, was struck down by food poisoning overnight and his strength was soon put to the test when he suffered a scary 200mph wobble early in the race.
Dovi shrugged off the scare and settled into second behind pole sitter and world championship leader Maverick Vinales, by lap 6 of 23. The Italian then unleashed Desmosedici horsepower to blast past the Yamaha rider on lap 14, ultimately edging away to a 1.2s victory margin.
"Very strange day!" smiled Dovi. "I woke up at 4:00am and I was sick. We didn't make the warm-up. Fortunately, we didn't have to try anything on the bike because our situation was really good.
"Then on the second lap I had big shaking on the straight and I was really out of control. But the change we did with Brembo [kept the brake pads close to the disc] fortunately.
"I didn't have energy before the race, so I was scared about that, but the reality was I was able to ride fast in a smooth way, that for me made a big difference during the race to stay behind Maverick.
"Ten laps to the end I decide to overtake him, but without a strategy. I saw that we are four riders in the group and I think it's better to be in front. We will see.
"Most of the time Valentino has something for the end of the race, and here he is very strong, so I had that question mark. Maverick is very, very strong and when I saw him two laps to the end, +1.2s, I said 'f**k!'
"Just at the last corner I realised I was able to win. In the last lap I have eight tenths, but I couldn't understand if Maverick close the gap during the lap and if he was able to try to overtake me in the last corner. I didn't know.
"I did this podium at Mugello in the past with HRC and I was crying like Danilo today! It was really nice, but to be on top is a really big difference, and to do it with Ducati is something really special. When you don't expect a result and you get it, it's very nice.
"I want to say thank-you to a lot of people because help me a lot. Ducati, my team, all the fans."
Both of Dovizioso's previous MotoGP wins were in damp or fully wet conditions, at Donington Park in 2009 and Sepang in 2016. Ducati meanwhile had not won its home race since Casey Stoner in 2009.
Dovizioso is now second in the world championship, 26-points behind Vinales, but won't be making any grand claims about challenging for the title at this stage.
"Every weekend is a different story. We have to be positive after this result, but we didn't change something special on the bike. That's why I'm not a guy - that I can say now – who will fight for the championship.
"A lot of people call me negative, but I call it realistic. Until now, we can be really fast in some races but our base in 18 races is not good enough.
"The layout of this track suits the bike in a perfect way today. That's it. And we have an advantage in fifth and sixth gear.
"Next weekend we will see very easy [how competitive we are] in a completely different track where the grip is very low and the asphalt is not so good. Last year we struggled a lot. Like I said, we didn't change something big here. That's why I'm realistic.
"To fight with them every weekend and to arrive at the end of the season and fight for the championship will be difficult. We are here for that and for sure we are working for that.
"But I'm not the kind of rider, now, after this result who can say next weekend we will be there in the same situation, because I know from the beginning of the season the negative and the positive of the bike."
New-for-2017 team-mate Jorge Lorenzo also briefly led the race in the early stages, before fading back to eighth.
"Like I've said from the beginning, I'm not surprised to see him struggling. Jorge is a really fast rider. Like in Jerez, when he's in a good mood, he's really strong. But in this moment our bike - this weekend was really good - but in all the other race we couldn't fight for the victory. So, it means there is something we have to improve. And for him, he doesn't have a lot of experience with all these problems and it's difficult to manage, I think."
And when Dovi pointed to his backside in front of the Ducati grandstand on the cool down lap, was it a reference to his food poisoning? "No! I was pointing to my name on my leathers; Desmo Dovi"
First free practice in Catalunya, featuring the revised chicane, starts on Friday morning.