The 2018 MotoGP championship was thrown into disarray at last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix thanks to a racing incident between Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa that saw all three factory riders crash out of contention while battling for the podium.
Fighting for second as race winner Marc Marquez rode away from them, Lorenzo’s choice of soft front tyre meant that the five-time champion was visibly holding up his teammate Dovizioso. Frustrating the Italian in the process, Dovizioso was forced into a series of do-or-die moves that eventually took him and Lorenzo wide. Over-correcting his error, Lorenzo then cut back across onto the racing line straight into the path of Pedrosa, making contact with the Repsol Honda rider that ended with all three of the trio hitting the deck.
Despite errors coming from all parties involved (when they’re normally among the safest and cleanest on the grid), Dovizioso was keen to absolve himself from all blame after the race. Instead putting the onus on both of his rivals, he says that Pedrosa was just as guilty as Lorenzo.
“If you crash then someone has made a mistake, and for sure Jorge and Dani made mistakes. Dani was the third rider, and when you’re behind you can manage the situation ahead of you. He took a normal line through the corner, but he did it much faster than normal. On the other side, Jorge didn’t check and didn’t care about the rider behind him either and he cut the line trying to exit the corner as quickly as possible.
“In the end, nothing bad happened and no one has to be penalised, but I’m still going home with zero points when I should be going home with twenty.”
But while Sunday’s race might have ended ignominiously for 2017 championship runner-up Dovizioso, he’s nonetheless leaving Spain happy thanks to significant improvements made to his Ducati. Struggling last year at Jerez and in similar high temperature conditions, he says there’s plenty to be upbeat about.
“We worked very well, took the right decisions, and when you suddenly discover on Sunday morning that you’re at the same pace as the leaders then you know you’ve done a good job. I’m happy with the feeling that I had with the bike, my speed and how I managed the race: to start from behind and make up places here at Jerez, lapping almost at the same pace as Marquez who then won the race, is truly a great satisfaction.”