Manuel Pecino / Photos courtesy Mission Winnow Ducati Team
Is it too enthusiastic to say Ducati is having their best moment in their long history in racing? You’ll probably say yes, there have been brighter moments in Borgo Panigale with Stoner dominating in MotoGP, and with Bayliss doing the same in SBK. But the statistics, that science that explains things according to the numbers, say no, there has never been a moment like this before.
This conclusion was arrived at by analyzing the number of times the bikes from Bologna led the two most important world championships, MotoGP and WSBK, at the same time. This situation has occurred in the past four times.
The first was in April 2006, when Loris Capirossi was leading the championship by 5 points ahead of Nicky Hayden; in SBK the leader was one Troy Bayliss with 22 points over another Troy, Corser. The next occasion of that leadership was in 2006, with a pair composed of the Australians Stoner and Bayliss. May 2009, Stoner topped the provisional championship after winning in Mugello; in WSBK, Haga did the same after his victory in the USA. And finally, Dovizioso and Melandri were in charge of their different championships last year, when Ducati also led the constructors’ championship.
In Jerez, Borgo Panigale manufacturer came to lead its two championships again, although in very different ways. While in WSBK Álvaro Bautista counted his starts with victories, in MotoGP Andrea Dovizioso topped the provisional after a fall from Marc Márquez in Texas while leading the race and the brazen victory of Alex Rins at the same venue.
It’s curious how his is a situation that more or less is a repeat of last year. In 2018 Andrea arrived to the Spanish GP also as leader of the championship thanks to the “frenzied” performance of Marc Márquez in Buenos Aires. This time the mistake was a race later, but it benefitted Dovizioso all the same.
Dovizioso is tremendously pragmatic, which in our view has its advantages and disadvantages.
Dovi is (in my opinion) an intelligent rider, a great strategist though he is a calculated rider, one lacking spark or charisma. To this last opinion we are not going to delve because that would be distasteful, but we will discuss the “calculated rider” part. A calculated rider does not contest the end of a race like Andrea has the past few years with the most explosive of MotoGP riders, Marc Márquez.
What is Dovizioso is tremendously pragmatic, which in our view has its advantages and disadvantages. This pragmatism has led him to suddenly be leader of the championship. Because you have to say that as far as exciting, he only was excited in Qatar, a race that left Andrea with the certainty that his bike there would be an advantage. He thought something like: “this is a good track for Ducati, so I’ll give it everything.”
But the other side of the coin in the way Dovizioso thinks comes up at circuits where the Desmosedici is not comfortable. There the same logic is applied but in reverse: “this is a complicated track for us so I’ll do the best I can.” I’m not in Andrea’s head, but after observing and analyzing his races for a long time, I consider that in this type of situation comes the race plays out the way it will in his head and doesn’t much differ from the pre-established script. Good or bad, this is his way of racing.
What is clear, despite the two emotionally even-keeled races he did in Argentina and Texas, is that comparing this year to his start of the 2018 championship shows this year clearly better. Last year his results in Qatar, Argentina and Texas were first, sixth and fifth; This has been first, third and fourth. That’s a substantially better start.
And what will happen in Jerez? It is better not to look to history, because the Andalusian layout is by far the worst track for Dovizioso on the calendar. In none of the categories has he been able to go fast there. And it’s not a matter of which bike he is on, because in MotoGP he’s never been close to the top positions neither with the Yamaha, nor with the Honda, nor with the Ducati. Thus, if Andrea applies his usual pragmatism in Spain…we know the outcome.
This was not the start of the championship that was announced from the ranks of Ducati. Before the start of this season, they were asked where they thought Petrucci would be once things began in earnest: “Danilo will surprise many people,” was the answer
Petrux needs to start making strides soon
The three sixth positions obtained in the three GPs disputed is not a disastrous start, but considering that at Honda Lorenzo has not be present, that at Yamaha Viñales is self-destructing, I think it’s not enough to be satisfied.
Another ‘unpleasant’ fact about Petrucci’s situation: Jack Miller, on the third official Desmosedici at Team Pramac, has not only finished ahead of him in Argentina and Texas( n Qatar he was forced to retire) but he’s also ‘beaten’ Petrucci in the qualifying.
Danilo has done a seventh, a tenth and an eighth in practice; Miller a fourth, fifth and a fourth … Petrux needs to start making strides soon.