Andrea Dovizioso

MotoGP – two more seats taken in MotoGP musical chairs

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Two more places of MotoGP musical chairs have fallen into place with the news that Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso have extended their factory deals.

The move means the Spaniard and the Italian will ride for the Honda and Ducati teams for the next two seasons, quashing rumours that they were both set to be replaced.

The paddock expected Pedrosa to jump ship to Yamaha, but instead he has opted to remain with Honda, and just as importantly, his main sponsor, Red Bull – a rare case of loyalty working both ways. Pedrosa is the ideal number two rider for Honda – fast, consistent and capable of fighting for the win.

Dovizioso had been favourite to be be ditched by Ducati, with Iannone to partner Jorge Lorenzo for next season, but the team had a change of heart following Iannone’s spectacular last lap collision with team-mate Dovizioso in Argentia, a banzai move which effectively cost him his Ducati career.

The news means that the Honda and Ducati Factory teams are both locked out, and with Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales expected to announce tomorrow that he’s signed for the Yamaha Factory team to partner Valentino Rossi, the three best teams are now full.

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MotoGP – Banzai Crazy Joe costs Ducati podiums

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Ducati’s Andrea Iannone suffered a miserable Second race of the season in Argentina, scuttling Dani Pedrosa’s hopes on the first lap with a desperate lunge at Turn One, before wiping out himself and his team-mate at the penultimate corner of the last lap.

The banzai move left Iannone unable to remount, while Dovizioso pushed his bike over the line to claim 13th place.

After the race the last lap incident between the warring Ducati Factory riders was investigated by Race Direction, and Iannone was handed a three place grid penalty for the next race at Austin. The Italian was also handed a penalty point for an ‘overly optimistic overtake’.

Iannone was distraught at his error. He said: “I’m okay. I’m just disappointed. It is very difficult because, yes, I went down and touched Andrea. Both me and Dovizioso would have been on the podium, so to finish the race in this way is unbelievable.

“I didn’t brake too late. I braked in the same point, but I stayed a little bit more inside because I had Andrea on the outside. I’ve been in Race Direction. But for sure I will say sorry to Andrea. Fortunately, I have a good relationship with him.”

Dovizioso was angry at missing out on a second place finish. He said: “I am very disappointed because we did a great race despite it being a complicated weekend for everyone. In qualifying we went well, in the race I was running up front and in my opinion the strategy was a good one. I even changed bikes at the right moment, staying out a lap extra and making up a few seconds.

“In the last few laps we were in a bit of difficulty, but we managed to catch Valentino, and I tried to close all the doors during the final lap. In the penultimate corner however what everyone could see happened and I missed out on a certain second place. Looking at things positively, we were also quick here in Argentina and, if I had managed to finish the race, now we would be second in the championship just one point behind Marquez.”

Iannone is well thought of at Ducati, with the bosses impressed by his work ethic and his performance since stepping up to the Factory squad. However, this is the second race in a row he has failed to score points and the incident intensifies the pressure on the pair, with the paddock convinced that Jorge Lorenzo has already signed to ride for the Factory for the next two seasons, and former world champion Casey Stone waiting in the wings.

MotoGP – no fuel problems for Ducati duo

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When both Ducati GP15s stopped on the slow down lap in Texas, their first race since a two-litre fuel reduction, many in the paddock thought the bikes had simply ran out of fuel.
But speaking ahead of this weekend’s race in Argentina, Austin runner-up Andrea Dovizioso, denied either bike had run dry. he said: “The reality is we didn’t run out of fuel. We had something on the tank. We had a different problem. But it is something we don’t want to speak about!”
Ducati two of half of its extra allowance of four litres of fuel after accumulating three dry podiums since the start of 2014, but even with the reduction the team still enjoys a two-litre advantage over the Factory Honda and Yamaha squads.
Satellite Pramac Ducati riders are also subject to the new fuel limit, but Danilo Petrucci did not appear to have any consumption issues on his GP14.1, stopping to give Dovizioso’s team-mate Andrea Iannone a lift back to the pits, while Yonny Hernandez crashed out.

MotoGP – Ducatis continue to fly

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After second place in the opening round of the 2015 MotoGP season in Qatar, Andrea Dovizioso confirmed the competitiveness of the Ducati Desmosedici GP15 in the Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin, in Texas, where he again finished runner-up.

Dovizioso rode an aggressive race, getting the holeshot from the starting grid and leading for the first four laps, before being passed by Marc Marquez who went on to win the race.

Dovizioso was then involved in an exciting battle with Rossi, who passed him on lap eight, but he remained right behind his compatriot, getting past on lap 16 and doing just enough to keep second until the chequered flag.
Team-mate Andrea Iannone, who started from the third row, also had a good race. After starting well, the man from Vasto in Southern Italy unfortunately lost touch with the leaders on the opening lap when he had to avoid being caught up in the crash between Redding and Pol Espargarò. He then began a good recovery, passing Aleix Espargarò, Jorge Lorenzo and Bradley Smith, and reached fourth place behind Dovizioso on lap eight.
Iannone tried to attack his team-mate, but after a few laps he had to slow his pace because of front tyre wear, and he was then passed by Lorenzo on lap 19 and in the end he had to settle for fifth.
Doivizioso said: “Today was a superb race and I take enormous personal satisfaction from it because here at Austin the races are always special: on this circuit you have to administer your energy, your tyres and your pace, something that does not happen in other circuits.
“I am particularly pleased with the work of my team because on a completely different track from Losail we confirmed that the GP15 is competitive and we managed to improve during the weekend. This year we have already had two great races, but we must continue to work because we’re still lacking a bit of fine-tuning in braking and traction, small improvements that will make the difference when it comes to fighting for the top positions at every circuit.”
Iannone felt the bike had the pace to finish higher than fifth. He said: “All things considered it was a positive weekend, even though I am not very happy with my fifth place. Today it was difficult to obtain anything more, because I lost a lot of time at the start when Redding crashed in front of me.
Then I had to push hard to make up the four-second gap from the leaders and it was not very easy. I had to push a lot at the front and on the tyres in general, and inevitably I paid for that in the last five laps. It was a pity, but in any case I am happy to have a competitive bike that every Sunday can fight for the podium and which allows me to stay up at the front with the top riders, and I am bringing home some important results.”

MotoGP – sensational start for GP15 as Dovizioso sticks Ducati on pole

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Andrea Dovizioso sensationally pulled the pin in qualifying at Qatar as the Ducati rider powered to pole position on the all-new Desmosedici GP15 with a time of 1’54.113.
Team-mate Andrea Iannone also performed strongly and ended the fifteen-minute qualifying session in fourth place with a time of 1’54.521, which was good enough for a row 2 start in Sunday’s 22-lap race.
Iannone and Dovizioso had previously stormed to first and second in the fourth free practice session (FP4) before qualifying, both men always using the medium compound rear tyre and lapping in excellent times.
In Q2, both Ducati riders used the soft rear tyre at their disposal: in that session Dovizioso set his best time to grab the pole on lap 5, while Iannone posted his fastest time on the sixth lap.
This is the second pole position on a Ducati for Dovizioso after the one he obtained last year at Motegi, and the third in his MotoGP career. The Italian said: “I am very pleased because today’s pole position is the result of the work of an entire team of people: after two years in which we have suffered, finally we have succeeded in making a really competitive bike, and to be honest I did not think that we would be immediately so fast with the GP15.
“We worked really well during all the tests, even though we did not have much time available to develop the new bike. With the soft tyre, we managed to set a really awesome time, but even in the fourth free practice session with the medium tyre the feeling with the GP15 was something special, so I’m confident and I think that tomorrow we can fight for the podium.”
Iannone’s performance was just as impressive, as he was still battered and cruised following his hard fall during FP4. He said: “I am satisfied with the way things went today, because in FP4 we were very quick with the medium tyres, even though I had possibly hoped to obtain something a bit more in qualifying.
“I would have liked to have started on the front row, but as I had hardly ever used the soft tyre I didn’t have much of a feeling with it and in addition we had a bit too much power on my bike and the set-up wasn’t the best. However, we must be happy with the way we are working and improving, so it wasn’t bad as a first qualifying session of the year.”