Suzuki switch appealing for Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso is emerging as an early favourite to clinch a switch to Suzuki’s factory MotoGP squad in 2015.
Tentative talks between the Italian’s manager Simone Battistella and Suzuki senior management have already taken place.
Suzuki has long admired the ex-125GP world champion, and MCN learned recently in Argentina that key members of the Japanese factory’s test and development team have identified Dovizioso as a number one target.
With vast experience of Honda, Yamaha and Ducati and proven speed to challenge consistently for the podium, Dovizioso perfectly fits the bill for what Suzuki is seeking to ensure it returns immediately competitive next season.
Dovizioso is certain to be receptive to a Suzuki switch, given his struggles at Ducati, which remain despite a first podium for the Bologna factory in Austin last month.
He was fifth in last weekend’s Jerez race but a second a lap slower than dominant winner Marc Marquez.
And Battistella told MCN: “We have been talking to understand their approach and what they are doing but that is something you do with everybody. I think Suzuki has to understand which riders it wants to target. From our side nothing has happened with Suzuki or anybody else, not even with Ducati.”
Battistella though admitted that the Suzuki option carried big appeal for Dovizioso and he added: “The Suzuki has always been a very strong option. If we see where they were when they stopped, they had some very strong results and I think the bike could have been on the podium. At the time Alvaro (Bautista) was very young and I think with one of the top riders they would have been on the podium a few times. I think with good riders, Suzuki will be very close to the podium right from the beginning next year.”
With Suzuki expressing serious interest in Dovizioso, Ducati could have a big fight on its hands to persuade him to stay.
The Desmosedici is still posing no serious threat to Honda and Yamaha’s domination of MotoGP and Battitstella said his decision on whether to stay or quit could not be based on performance potential because of a lack of time.
He added: “I think it is not going to be a technical situation that is going to convince him to stay. I think it will be a confidence situation between Gigi (Dall’Igna) and Andrea because the time is not there to show him something with the bike. The start of the relationship has been very good but I don’t think there is enough time to see something on track that will work that will make him want to stay.”