If it wasn’t for bad luck, Andrea Dovizioso wouldn’t have any luck at all. Of the nine races so far this year, Dovizioso has finished just five, and one of them, only by pushing his bike across the line.
Dovizioso’s run of bad luck started in Argentina, where he ended up being taken out two corners from the finish line by his teammate Andrea Iannone. Given Iannone’s reputation, that hardly counts as a surprise, but one week later, Dovizioso found himself on the floor again, this time wiped out by Dani Pedrosa.
That is virtually unheard of – at least since Estoril in 2006 – and Pedrosa immediately showed he is a man of honor by rushing over to check on the Italian after losing the front and hitting Dovizioso’s bike. Compare and contrast the behavior of Iannone at both Argentina and Barcelona.
Another race, another nightmare. This time, it was the turn of the bike to let Dovizioso down. A failed water pump spewed water onto the rear tire of the Italian’s Ducati, forcing him to retire for the third race in a row.
A crash at Le Mans made it four in a row, though this time, Dovizioso himself was to blame. He asked too much of his front tire (despite using 2° less lean angle that lap), and down he went. He added one more crash of his own at Assen, when he crashed out of a strong position in the restarted wet race.
Dovizioso’s tough season belies some fairly impressive performances. Of the four races the factory Ducati rider has finished normally, two have seen him climb the podium, while a third saw him finish in a very respectable fifth place. It makes you wonder where the Italian would be if fate hadn’t kept intervening.
Dovizioso has been one of the riders to suffer most with the switch to Michelin tires. The Italian was the latest of the late brakers, the last man to squeeze the lever on the way into the corner, and keeping it hard on all the way to the apex.
The Michelins make it much tougher to deploy that strategy, and so Dovizioso has had to work hard to adapt. The move away from the Desmosedici GP14.2 had already handicapped him in that regard: the GP15 and GP16 have sacrificed corner entry to help the bike turn better, leaving Dovizioso declawed.
The Italian is made of stern stuff, as he showed by pushing his bike across the line in Argentina, after being unceremoniously decanted into the gravel by Iannone.
That grit, together with work ethic and intelligence is what ensured Dovizioso kept his seat in the factory Ducati team for next year. He will need grit and determination to get through the second half of the season, but above all, he will need just a little bit of luck. He’s owed some.
Photo: © 2016 Tony Goldsmith / www.tonygoldsmith.net – All Rights Reserved
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.