What do you think would have been Gigi Dall’Igna’s answer if, in the 2018 Team Ducati presentation last January, he were asked if he would be leaving Assen leading the World Championship with two victories and a total of six podiums in eight races? Do you think he would have asked where to sign?
Well that’s exactly Ducat’s situation before the German GP to be raced next weekend at the Sachsenring…a perfect situation. In fact, through a channel reserved for journalists, the Ducati communication department sent a message Sunday afternoon recalling that since Mugello 2009 a Ducati rider has not lead the World Championship.
Paradoxically, what at this point is clearly a crisis that was not expected -read here Lorenzo’s adaptation problems-, it’s diluted in the best Ducati start of the World Championship we’ve seen in the last 8 years.
That said, it’s a perfect situation for the factory of Borgo Panigale. Well, let’s leave it at “almost perfect”. Because in regards to the original script, that of the two victories and the six podiums, there is a detail that does not quite fit. Because in January, basically everybody would have assumed that the championship leader and the winner of those two GPs would be Jorge Lorenzo.
As we all know, things have gone differently. It is not the newly signed Lorenzo who has returned Ducati to the top of the classification but Andrea Dovizioso, who was called to be the B rider behind the Spanish rider. In a surprising metamorphosis, Dovizioso has been in charge of the Ducati project. He set the example, not Lorenzo, as expected.
Mr. 95%, as he was known in some racing circles because of his way of being ahead in all conditions but always under control, he has learned to “lose his head” when the situation called for it… as in his victory at Mugello. On the other hand, in his second triumph in Montmeló, a week after Italy, he again used that “common sense” – a capacity for analysis of the situation, I think Dovi calls it – that has always characterized him.
Mr. 95%, as Dovizioso was known because of his way of being ahead in all conditions but always “under control”, he has learned to “lose his head” when the situation called for it…
In Assen we had occasion to see the two versions of Dovi in the same race. An aggressive Dovi, on the attack, who recovered three seconds to the race head before it began to rain, and an additional second when the asphalt was wet. In that phase of the race he piloted the attack and was the fastest rider on track. But when he reached the top, when he reached Rossi and Petrucci to play for the victory, the “responsible” Dovizioso woke up. “Gambling meant taking too many risks; Also, it rained too hard and I started thinking about the championship.” Yes, this is a new Dovizioso, but he is not a Marc Márquez!
In Bologna they look to heaven and appreciate this new version of Andrea, because if not for him, the 2018 Ducati project would be in a situation that would be…quite embarrassing, to be blunt. Of Jorge Lorenzo’s adaptation difficulties we don’t have to speak. But paradoxically, what at this point is clearly a crisis that was not expected, it’s diluted in the best start of the World Championship we’ve seen in the last 8 years. Thank God for Dovizioso!