MotoGP: Dovi targeting Viñales as the man to beat

Published: 17 March 2017

Andrea Dovizioso has set his sights on Maverick Viñales as the man to beat if he’s to have any hopes of replicating his maiden win from Sepang last year when the MotoGP season kicks off at Losail in two weeks’ time.

Consistently one of the fastest men of the test across the three days, the Italian nonetheless conceded that at the minute he’s got no match for the Spaniard, and that it’s going to take hard work when they return to the circuit for the opening round if he’s to have any hopes of beating him.

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“I’m quite happy with the test, but not too happy, because my pace is quite good until you compare it to Maverick, then it’s not that good! He’s really fast, he’s really confident, and he’s fast in any conditions. He could have set a better lap time if he had really wanted to push, too.

“Apart from that, I’m happy with the work we did in three days. Each day had different conditions, so we worked a lot and we’re ready for anything come the race weekend. We need to improve, though – the pace isn’t bad and we can do a faster lap time than I set on the last day, but still there is something where we have to improve.”

But Qatar is one place where Dovizioso has form, with the Italian being in the mix for the past three years at the Losail circuit – against first Valentino Rossi in 2015 and then Jorge Lorenzo in 2016 – and wants to repeat the feat against a third Yamaha rider in the guise of Viñales in 2017!

“I’m happy if it can happen again because it means I’m on the top and fighting for my win. It won’t be easy, because a lot of riders have good pace, but the race weekend will be totally different from testing. Riders approach it in very different ways, so we’ll see what happens.”

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