Andrea Dovizioso not nervous about potential Ducati switch
Andrea Dovizioso isn’t nervous or daunted at the prospect of replacing compatriot Valentino Rossi in Ducati’s factory MotoGP squad in 2013.
The Italian is hotly tipped to pen a two-year deal to replace Rossi after the nine-times world champion decided to quit Ducati at the end of the season to re-join Yamaha in 2013.
Rossi is the highest profile rider to fail to emulate Casey Stoner’s success at Ducati and after a disastrous 27 races the 33-year-old has scored just two podium finishes.
Last-ditch attempts by new Ducati owners Audi to convince Rossi to stay on board a factory Desmosedici for a further two years fell on deaf ears.
Rossi simply couldn’t afford to gamble the final two years of his MotoGP career on the hope that Ducati could bridge the huge performance gap to Honda and Yamaha.
And rather than remain number one at Ducati, Rossi would rather be number two to bitter rival Jorge Lorenzo at Yamaha to ensure he has the chance of adding to his incredible record of 105 Grand Prix victories.
Dovizioso has been offered a new deal to remain with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad and he’s also been in talks about a swift return to Honda having negotiated with Fausto Gresini’s satellite squad.
But speaking recently to MCN about whether Dovizioso would be apprehensive about gambling his future on a Desmosedici, his manager Simone Batistella said: “Ducati has shown a lot of commitment and they have been putting a huge effort behind improving the bike.
"It is not for me to judge how much they have improved but the effort has been there. It means that the commitment is already there and it can only grow with the commitment of Audi, so I can see a rider that believes in his skills and his potential can go to Ducati and be competitive.
"What Andrea has said in the past when asked what he thought about the Ducati is that at the moment it is not a bike to think about if you want to win. But that is something related to the results. A rider of his level should have no problem to jump on a Ducati.
"You need good support behind and you need to understand that the commitment on the technical side is there. I think that in MotoGP at this moment because of the level of the talent you need a manufacturer that believes in a rider who can try to build a bike around that rider.”
When pressed for his thoughts though on why Ducati had failed to deliver a competitive bike for a legend of racing like Rossi, despite his renowned development skills, Batistella added: “Honda in 2007 were nowhere. In 2008 the same and how many times did they change the bike?
"Every six months they were completely changing the bike and five years later they had the best bike. And this is Honda and they had top riders.
"If you have the technical knowledge, and Ducati has this and the budget, you can make it. I don’t know if you can win the championship but you can improve. I don’t see why Ducati can’t do it.
"They have valuable knowledge from the last 18 months and although the results have been negative they have experience. In the past they won with Casey and now they understand the limits.
"Maybe Casey was misleading on the bike because his talent was so high he could cover the limits of the bike. Ducati have the confidence of Audi and if they keep pushing they will get there.”