MotoGP Silverstone: ‘MotoGP is now speed not strategy’ - Dovizioso

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Andrea Dovizioso came back from the MotoGP summer break to announce his retirement from racing after two decades.

A stalwart of the Grand Prix paddock since his 125cc debut in 2001, Dovizioso is set to round out his career at his home race - the San Marino GP at the Misano World Circuit, Marco Simoncelli - with six races still to run of 2022. The Italian will hand his WithU RNF Yamaha over to the Japanese factory’s test rider Cal Crutchlow to see out the year.

“First of all, I would like to thank Yamaha and the team WithU because they give me a big support and they understood me so that this has been very important for me,” Dovizioso said from the Silverstone paddock on Thursday evening. “I was relaxed to speak with them about my situation and I’m happy to have a good relation with them and be able to take this tough decision because at the end, after 20 years is always tough to take this kind of decisions. But it’s okay and I relax and is the moment to take this decision.

“As a rider, when you are doing the practice, the race and you are not able to be where you want, your mind start thinking about these things and you realise is the moment, so this is the reason why I took the decision.”

When asked why he took the decision to end the season mid-way through, rather than just complete the season, the Italian was honest about his approach.

“It’s not so nice when as a rider you think too much about these things, not just be focused on the racing. When you don’t feel that competitive you start to think too much about that. So I ended up feeling to take this decision. And with that feeling I started thinking about Misano would be the right race, final race, my last home race to do, and finish there with a party and big smile from everybody. My friends and all the fans.”

Having amassed 15 premier class victories amongst his 24 GP tally alongside 79 additional podiums across the three classes and on three manufacturers, Dovizioso’s record and experience is impressive. So what will the talented and laid back 36-year-old do next?

“In this moment I don’t have anything big on the table because I didn’t check,” he admitted. “I didn’t try to find anything. I think is normal after 20 years in one place, you need a bit of time to do some other things and to live in a different way.

“For sure, everything is around sport and I’m not anymore that young but I still feel young enough to live and use my body in this moment still, and race for example on motocross and enjoy the last I don’t know ‘some’ years in a good shape and enjoy that situation.

“I have in my mind for a long time, more than ten years, a dream to create something at home and still is not done,” he hinted. “But I’m close and I’m really happy. Still I’m not done about that so I don’t want to speak about that because it’s a bit too early but I’m really focused on one project. I think that will be really nice if I will be able to work on that and race with motocross and enjoy. I will keep for sure the door open about anything because I think I have a lot of experience in this world. I already have some requests in the past already to do something here. But in this moment, I feel I need a bit of time and doing what I want at home and then let’s see.”

Since departing his successful relationship with Ducati at the end of 2020, Dovizioso has struggled to find his way with the M1. When asked if there was one particular race that made up his mind to stop, he acknowledged the overall situation.

“From the beginning, when I jumped to the bike, at the beginning you feel exactly the base of the bike and straightaway I was a bit surprised about the grip - I always say that. That, I think, it was the biggest characteristic I really fight.

“My way to ride the Yamaha has not been the best way to use the potential of the bike because Fabio shows every race there is a possibility to be competitive and win the title with this bike.

“So I work a lot with the team, I work a lot with Ramon [Forcada], with Yamaha and try a lot of things, maybe even too much, but I don’t think that was the point. Because when we change also big things that didn’t affect a lot, so that it was just to confirm the match between my riding style, my way to approach the track and the characteristic of Yamaha now didn’t match in the best way.

“During the break I spoke with Yamaha because I felt I had a good relation to be able to speak about that,” he continued on his decision. “Because I know this is something, it’s not the best to do this. But it was the reality to me and I was open, like always. I’m always open, can like sometimes and sometimes no but… I spoke with them and I found big support and they understood me. So that was good.

“MotoGP is changing but it’s normal. We are speaking about the best class about motorcycle and developing is big. The effort from the manufacturer is big, the effort from the riders is big so it’s normal, developing is really fast and change a lot of things. Now, the way you have to race, in the way you have to ride is different. Is quite different compared to five years ago for example. I don’t speak about this in a negative way. It just is different.

“Now you win the race by speed, is difficult to see a lot of overtake because everybody are fast and you pay more about the lap time, more than the strategy in the race or more than the strategy of the consumption of the tyre. If you are fast in the practice and you already found the speed, more or less you can keep also in the race. But this is just a consequence of developing, the tyre change. You can push a bit more than the past so you can be consistent and keep a similar pace until the end. That’s why now in MotoGP there is less and less battle. There is a lot of aerodynamics and that don’t help for the overtaking. So this is the change of the MotoGP. As I said before, I don’t want to speak in a negative way, just change and it’s not the best for the battle. But is the way to race in MotoGP now.”