Andrea Dovizioso has backed himself to succeed where fellow Italian’s Valentino Rossi and Marco Melandri failed by making Ducati’s factory Desmosedici contender a consistent front-runner in MotoGP.
Dovizioso made his first official appearance as a factory Ducati rider at the Bologna factory’s annual team launch at the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort in Italy this morning.
Ducati hasn’t won a race since Casey Stoner triumphed in Malaysia in October 2010 and the Bologna factory’s fortunes nosedived in a nightmare two-year spell with Valentino Rossi.
The nine-times world champion struggled to make the Desmosedici a podium challenger and he joined the likes of Melandri, Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau in failing to enjoy major success on a Ducati.
Dovizioso outwardly appears undaunted by the size of the task he faces and he is optimistic he can transform Ducati’s results.
The former Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider said: “We are all aware that you need an official team if you want to try and win the championship. If we work well then I think there is the possibility to do so. I am aware that Honda and Yamaha are very strong and they have a lot of experience with strong riders.
But that said I believe in this project in the long-term. There is no magic wand but if we keep our feet on the ground and work well then I think we can do it. I think two years is going to be enough. For the first year I shouldn’t set any special goals. With the bike we have we must understand how it works and then slowly work on improvements.
For the first year I am going to work, work, work to understand the bike and what we need to do. And then we will be able to think about improving the results because the level of competition is very high and to stay up front, to be on the podium and win the championship is difficult.”
Asked what his goals for 2013 were after he scored six podium finishes on the Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 in 2012, Dovizioso said: “My goals are quite simple. We all know well what is the current situation and I am extremely determined to work well. Now we find ourselves having to decrease the gap that exists but I have decided for this challenge because I think we can do well with it and I am convinced we have all the necessary elements to go in the right direction.
This is a long-term project, so I will not just be focussing on the first races. I am very determined and I am keeping my feet on the ground for this long-term project. We have to be open-minded but logically there is a time factor to develop new material but I believe that if we understand that something important has to be changed based on the time available we will do everything to do so.
I believe that the last two years when Valentino was here, I want to see them as two positive years. When things don’t work, if one tackles them with intelligence you can improve them, so we have to take what we have and look at them with an open mind.”
Dovizioso didn’t go into specific details about what he felt were the areas Ducati needed to improve on its GP13 machine.
He only completed a 90-minute stint during a rain-hit Ducati debut in Valencia back in November. He was then sidelined for a Jerez test at the end of November by a neck problem, so he admitted he hasn’t spent enough time on the Desmosedici to give an accurate assessment on where it needs to be improved.
“I have only done a few laps with the Ducati so I can’t say much. The conditions were a bit special in Valencia but the first feeling was positive because I was expecting a bike that could be difficult to manage based on what I had heard. My first contact wasn’t as such but I am going to have to see what happens when we start doing good times with the best. In Jerez I had a problem with my neck and so I couldn’t ride the bike and these were two important days.
We will have six days in Malaysia, so I am going to have more time to understand the bike. It is meaningless for me to go into detail because I can learn much more in Malaysia. A lot will depend on what has to be changed and we have to understand that. Now I can’t say what are the problems and what they have to work on.
We will have to decide as soon as possible what we are going to have to change to develop the bike. I’d like to say more because it would be important for me but I simply haven’t ridden the bike enough. I don’t want to go into these details because I would not be able to give you a proper answer, “said Dovizioso.