Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Andrea Dovizioso – 5/10

01/09/2014 @ 2:17 pm, by David Emmett14 COMMENTS


In the eighth instalment of our series looking at 2013, we come to Andrea Dovizioso. This is how the Italian got on in his first year at Ducati. To read the rest of our reviews of last year, you can read part 1, Marc Marquezpart 2, Jorge Lorenzopart 3, Dani Pedrosapart 4, Valentino Rossipart 5, Cal Crutchlowpart 6, Alvaro Bautista; and part 7, Stefan Bradl.

After losing his factory Honda ride at the end of 2011, Dovizioso made the switch to Yamaha, joining Cal Crutchlow in the Tech 3 team. A strong year with six podiums saw him win the slot in the factory Ducati team vacated by Valentino Rossi. Dovizioso felt he deserved a factory ride, and he had got what he wanted.

That proved to be something of a poisoned chalice. The year after Ducati was taken over by Audi proved to be a year of stagnation, with new head of Ducati Corse Bernhard Gobmeier never really able to impose his authority on the race department.

A lot of work was done with chassis stiffness, a new aerodynamics package was unveiled, the engine received a minor upgrade with improved throttle bodies. It all helped, a little, but the bike still had understeer — still wouldn’t turn.

Dovizioso started the season with some hope, racing with real determination and guts. Early in the season, he had some good results, getting close to the podium at Le Mans in the pouring rain, and then following on with strong race at Mugello, aided no doubt by the amount of testing Ducati does at the circuit.

But as promised upgrades failed to materialize, and the full seriousness of his situation started to sink in, Dovizioso’s mood took a dive. An air of despair hung around him, the Italian resigning himself to a lost season.

It was clear that racing for Ducati had become a chore for Andrea Dovizioso. He never fell short of what was required, he always gave what he could, but he always played it safe, never took any real risks, always stayed safely within the limits. He did what he had to, but he took no joy from it.

After relatively positive lap times during practice or qualifying, mediocre race results would follow. “This is the reality of the situation.” It would become Dovizioso’s mantra, something we heard from him a million times in 2013.

In 2014, Andrea Dovizioso will be joined by his former teammate Cal Crutchlow, but it is hard to say whether he looks forward to the year with much enthusiasm. Much is set to change at Ducati in the next year, now that Gigi Dall’Igna has taken over the race department. Whether Dovizioso believes it will make a difference remains to be seen. For his sake, we hope it will.

High Point:


Early in the year there were still promises of upgraded chassis, and even a new engine to come in the middle of the season. A strong result at Le Mans boosted Dovizioso’s confidence, and then they arrived at Mugello, and Dovizioso sealed a front row start and came within a few yards of bagging a fourth place finish. Things were looking rosy.

Low Point:


After Mugello, Dovizioso’s optimism was short-lived. The date of promised upgrades kept on being pushed back, and the updates that did arrive, didn’t make much difference. A new chassis helped, the bike was less tiring to ride, but it didn’t turn much better and it certainly wasn’t any faster.

Dovizioso’s mood waned, sliding into the slough of despond. There wasn’t so much a low point for Andrea Dovizioso in 2013, more of a long slide into darkness. 2014 needs to be a lot better.

Photos: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • Shawn

    Given the trend in this series of articles for each progressive rider to be ranked lower and lower, I take it that you’re going to rate Nicky Hayden at no better than a 5/10, AND you’re going to put him behind Dovizioso? That seems a bit harsh.

  • vman

    Rating: anyone who makes it to a MotoGP ride and stays there more than two seasons 10/10 Rock On. Not a Dovi fan but hes out there doing, I am just watching.

  • SBPilot

    Um, David you’re way off rating Dovi so low. Why are you rating riders based on their results? If that’s the case, we just need to look at the standings.

    The bike is inferior, by a long shot as you stated. That has nothing to do with Dovi. He came into the team and beat Hayden, who’s been riding that bike for as long as anyone can remember. That shows Dovi’s talent.
    He went into Tech3, first time on a Yamaha, podium 6 times, beat Cal and left. Dovi’s skill is right up there to rank him 5/10 is ridiculous. He’s way better than Cal yet you rank cal higher? Bias much?

    Anyway, time to ignore every “rating” post after this. Not like I agreed with the other ones but this one I had to speak out on.

  • “He came into the team and beat Hayden, who’s been riding that bike for as long as anyone can remember. That shows Dovi’s talent.”

    Agreed. Let’s also not forget how Dovi outshone Pedrosa for 3rd place in 2011. It was his parting ‘comment’ to HRC for ousting him from his ride on the RC212V.

  • crshnbrn

    re “Let’s also not forget how Dovi outshone Pedrosa for 3rd place in 2011. It was his parting ‘comment’ to HRC for ousting him from his ride on the RC212V.”

    Good Point! Perhaps had HRC not had to bring Stoner onboard on a third bike in order to win a championship, Dovi might still be on a bike worthy of his talent. I always thought he got a raw deal when HRC cut back to two bikes.

  • Jonathan

    I can easily put Dovi ahead of Bradl or Bautista. Bradl lacks the experience and results of Dovi over the years, and Bautista is so inconsistent compared with Dovi. So I just can’t agree with him being under those riders. The same goes for Hayden and A. Espargaro.

  • Faust

    You rate Bautista higher than Dovi? Laughable.

  • H.L.

    I believe Dovi could have contended for fourth against Rossi and at least placed fifth on most races if he rode the LCR Honda with his skills. Maybe he will get a better opportunity in 2015 with LCR, Gresini or Suzuki.

  • Kenny

    Regardless of the results, I still maintain that Dovizioso and Hayden gave the most entertaining performances this year.
    The two of them duking it out at Laguna Seca had me grinning from ear to ear. They looked like they were having a blast.

  • Jw

    Funny how the mid pak riders are getting the most comments. Goes to show how much we and the sport need these warriors.

  • smiler

    “The year after Ducati was taken over by Audi proved to be a year of stagnation, with new head of Ducati Corse Bernhard Gobmeier never really able to impose his authority on the race department.”

    I think that is not actually true. The Gob was sent in to change processes and as a hatchet man not a long term option. Audi made it clear there would be minimal visible change in the first year and that the GP13 would not be radically changed, that they would work within the limits oif the current bike. 2014 would be a year when things were shaken up and 2015 a reall challenge.

    You can see already that this is happening. Ducati will enter in the open class for the reasons you mentioned. They have new Corse manager with the required experience. WROOOM has been cancelled.

    As for Dovi, he was shafted by HRC & Repsol and liekly Dorna in order to give Repsol a Spanish puppet. He has been sensible on the Ducati. Why risk everything when it is clear that the level of engineering change will take place this year.

  • Woodlandrider

    He’s a great rider on a crap bike – you’re a 5/10 journalist if you can’t see that. Stop this rating thing – its pointless.

  • Jw

    So far I agree with the ratings, good work David!

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    i’m trying to figure out scoring parameters and weight given to those parameters (whatever they may be).

    Parameters and weight given to them seem to be the following: rider attitude; rider effort; past history (or not); results (maybe); expected results; and if the author liked the rider or not (which is fine by me, just not at all scientific or reasonable).

    If you were rooting for Hayden every race (like I was), you saw a relentless Dovi who never said uncle, who took risks (usually the kind that involved smashing into Hayden!).

    Dovi’s decision to go to Ducati was a 5/10 decision (as was Crutchlow’s). But his riding last season was several notches above 5/10.