Ducati Confirms Two-Year Deal With Andrea Dovizioso

Ducati has announced that they have signed a two-year contract with Andrea Dovizioso to ride for the factory team for the 2013 and 2014 season. Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio explained in the press release that the reason for signing Dovizioso was his technical ability and his testing skills, signalling that Ducati's focus at the current time is primarily on the development of the bike, a consequence of Valentino Rossi's conspicuous failure to achieve racing success on the bike.

The signing was long anticipated, rumors having already emerged in the week before Indianapolis that an agreement was nigh. A year ago, Dovizioso had been very wary of Ducati, telling reporters that he had understood that the bike was difficult to ride from seeing Marco Melandri struggle so badly on the machine in 2008. But as it became clear that Rossi would be leaving Ducati to return to Yamaha, Dovizioso warmed to the Bologna factory, impressed by both the financial rewards and the commitment to developing the bike with the assistance of Audi.

Dovizioso's signing leaves Cal Crutchlow out in the cold. The Englishman had been in talks with Ducati for several months, with reports of a two-year offer emerging after Silverstone. But despite Crutchlow's interest, a formal offer never emerged, leaving Crutchlow frustrated at being left hanging by the Bologna factory for four months. Crutchlow still has a few offers, including the option to either stay at his current Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team or switch to the Gresini Honda squad. Crutchlow has also been linked with a number of rides in the World Superbike paddock.

With the signing of Dovizioso, all of the 2013 factory seats are tied up: Dovizioso joins Nicky Hayden at the Factory Ducati team; Valentino Rossi will line up alongside Jorge Lorenzo at the Factory Yamaha squad; and Marc Marquez will make his debut alongside Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda. Among the satellite teams, Bradley Smith is already confirmed at Tech 3, as is Stefan Bradl at LCR Honda, where he is in the first year of a two-year deal. The seats at Gresini and Tech 3 are still to be confirmed, while Ducati has still not decided on the exact form its Junior Team will take, though it is expected that the riders will be two from the youngsters Andrea Iannone, Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding.

Below is the official press release from Ducati announcing the signing of Dovizioso:

Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati together beginning in 2013

Borgo Panigale (Bologna) 22 August 2012 – Ducati and Andrea Dovizioso have reached an agreement that will see the Italian wearing the colours of the Ducati Team in 2013 and 2014.

Andrea Dovizioso, who currently sits in fourth place overall in the MotoGP championship standings, will join Nicky Hayden on the team. The pair will face next season together, working on development of the Desmosedici and the MotoGP project for the championship in which Ducati has played an important role since 2003.

“The agreement reached with Andrea Dovizioso confirms the company’s primary interest in racing, which is an active and strategic part of Ducati’s DNA and heritage,” said President Gabriele Del Torchio. “It is with great pleasure that I welcome Andrea, as we marshal our best efforts in confronting the MotoGP World Championship. Along with Nicky Hayden, with whom we have renewed a working agreement, we are confident that we will be able to proceed with our development program, to compete, and to obtain the results and rewards that will repay our efforts and the faith that our partners, sponsors and fans have never failed to demonstrate."

“Andrea’s technical sensibility and test-riding abilities are of great value, as are his talent and determination,” added Filippo Preziosi, General Manager of Ducati Corse. “The knowledge that we will have him on our team and be able to count on his collaboration serves as an additional incentive to continue with the growth and development of our MotoGP project. I’m pleased that he has chosen to be a part of our team. He is aware of the work to be done, and he approaches it with enthusiasm and confidence, which are fundamental requirements for achieving success and for competing in this challenging championship.”

Andrea Dovizioso

Race number: 4
Age: 26 (born in Forlimpopoli, Italy, on 23 March 1986)
GPs raced: 179 (81 x MotoGP, 49 x 250cc, 49 x 125cc)
First GP: Italian GP, 2001 (125cc)
GP race wins: 10 (1 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
GP podium: 62 (21xMotoGP, 26x250cc, 15x125cc)
First GP win: South African GP, 2004 (125cc)
GP Pole Positions: 14 (1 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 9 x 125cc)
First GP Pole: French GP, 2003 (125cc)
GP World Titles: 1 (2004, 125cc)

Andrea rode a bike for the first time at 4 years old, and at 7 he competed in his first minibike race. In 2000 he won the Aprilia Challenge trophy, and in 2001 he finished fourth in the Italian Championship and won the 125cc class in the European Championship. In 2002 he competed in his first season in the world championship, in the 125cc class, and in 2004 he conquered his first title in that category, with five victories and eleven podiums. During the three seasons in which he raced in the 250cc division, he achieved four wins, finishing second two times in the general standings and third once. In 2008 he moved up to MotoGP, where he has achieved one victory so far (England, 2009) and twenty-one podiums. He currently sits fourth in the MotoGP standings.

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I was hoping for Crutchlow/Ducati marriage initially but.....

But I think Dovi can do a good job. He certainly has the experience, the demeanor and the patience (which will require a lot). Good, safe choice.

The underdog role suits Dovi well I think. Factory Honda was never a good fit, but now.....expectations aren't as high and he might be able to fly under the radar and finish what Ducati/Rossi started. I hope so.

2013 is shaping up to be good.....for everybody.

I only hope Crutchlow can find a good seat, maybe San Carlo Gresini? This is my hope.....

But Dovi is going to struggle just like Rossi, just like Melandri. Why?

Dovi came up through the ranks in the 250's like Pedro, Lorenzo, Rossi, Melandri. Basically they are all very smooth riders who rely on a lot of feedback from the suspension and carrying high corner speed.

He's going to struggle and complain of the same things everybody else has: front end feel. Cal would have been a better choice.

On the Yamaha side, it seems that riding the Ducati made the Honda feel like it was on rails to Stoner. Think the Duc has made Rossi a better rider?

Dovi will struggle, at least initially.
But unlike his predecessors there is now actually a lot of hope of improvement over the next years.
Since Audi bought Ducati, there is now a lot of financial muscle behind them. It will take some time before that trickles down to the GP team, but I'm betting it will start to show next year. They will be able to machine stuff themselves(remember the initial alu frame that FTR made for Ducati?), and develop much faster. One of the things they desperately need is an engine that doesnt take so much space in the chassis, and hopefully they'll get that next year. It should hopefully take care of a lot of the understeer problems they have.

Regarding Rossi I don't think he has learned anything useful on the Ducati. Neither did Stoner. They just have different riding styles. Stoner can wrestle pretty much anything, Rossi cant.

Stoner learned how to mostly ride around the Duc problems and gave it 100% +. Rossi didn't and, by his own admission, doesn't willingly push the boundaries on the Duc at the moment. No issue with that as his safety is paramount. Just saying that its not all about riding styles, a healthy dose of motivation and willingness to take risk comes into it too.

Yeah, Ducati needs someone that doesn't have preexisting biases on how they want a bike to behave. Basically another Stoner. :-P

Based on the interview with Furusawa, if Preziosi doesn't understand the concept of ride frequency, I'm not sure he's going to get the job done for Hayden and Dovizioso. Vehicle dynamics is way more complicated than just ride frequency.

I think Dovi's a better choice for those reasons. He's the type of rider the Ducati needs to adapt to. Crutchlow would have been an attempt to find another Stoner. I'm hoping that this choice is a demonstration of their commitment to building a bike that any rider could be comfortable on.
Though I suspect it will probably be a tough road for Dovi hopefully they're finally on the right path. And I certainly wish Cal well. He's a very promising rider and a hell of a personality.

I feel like Cal on the Ducati would just mean that many more crashes. Cal's style seems to be synonymous with being able to ride a bucking bronco, but that is inherent with eventually falling off.

Look at his record of falling off the M1, and that's supposed to be the smoothest bike in the paddock!!

Stoner also came up through the ranks of 125, 250s through the Spanish and British gp circuits then to the world championships. I don't think that has much to do with it. The obvious exception being that he started in dirt track racing prior to this, rather than mini bikes.

Hayden did not, starting in dirt track then moving through the AMA circuit prior to Motogp, though his results on the Ducati haven't been much better than the other riders bar Stoner.

I hope Dovi does well, but like others have suggested i doubt he'll do much until Ducati get their bike handling like a Honda or Yamaha. He didn't impress on a Repsol Honda so really how much better will he do anywhere, except for maybe a factory Yamaha?

To Dovi surely needed.
And to Cal as well to find a decent seat. MotoGP is desperately looking for charismatic riders and Cal could be one of those to mitigate SuperSic absence.

I have a feeling that Andrea will also give us a good measure of Nick efforts and how, at times, he had been undervalued.

Don't forget, that up until Indy, Nicky had more points overall then Rossi. I'd say that we already have a good measure of just how good/hard working Nicky is.

“Andrea’s technical sensibility and test-riding abilities are of great value..."


"Maybe Andrea can do something with this sow's ear, we've tried everything else"

I'd like to see Cal stay in MotoGP. In my opinion he belongs there. But he has been unable to put together a complete race, let alone a complete weekend. She shows the speed, though, so I think he'll eventually learn a better way to race the distance.

I don't know what he was trying to do at Indy. Turn 4 is probably the slowest turn in MotoGP. There is no time to be made there by trying hard. Dani, Casey and Jorge take the turn tight on the inside trying to stand the bike up as quick as they can. They make time on the drive to T5 when they explode down the chute with the bike mostly straight up and pointed.

Cal rode it like a Moto3 or Moto2 bike trying to make a sweep of the apex to the outside curb while applying throttle. Of course he eventually got too excited and opened the throttle just in time to wash the front tire at the apex...sheesh.

I'd like to see him on a Honda if Tech 3 doesn't make a decent offer. I think Brno is going to be important for him.

So 4 prototype seats left, with Crutchlow likely to take one of those and 2 Moto2 riders to take the 2 junior Ducati seats no one else wants anyway. So we have 4 Moto2 riders moving up to the prototype ranks next year, which I don't think is a bad thing, but that does leave Bautista and Barbera out of a ride (and I'm assuming Abraham, as Ducati is limited to 2 satellite bikes, nothing would be available for him). Sort of a shame as none of those guys is bad at all, but there's only so much room at the inn. Maybe Abraham's dad will look to get him a competitive (?) CRT bike instead. Personally I think he'd be better served back in Moto2.

i think petrucci deserves a shot at the jr ducati, their bike is garbage compared to the rest, they lose so much in top speed compared to the other crt bikes let alone the likes of ducati yet he's still mixing it with the likes of edwards in terms of times

Ducati are probably getting an upgrade at that position. Dovi will at least give it his best, not cry at the back of the field screaming that the bike is undrivable.

It will be interesting to see how NH69 and AD4 get along next season. Dovi was the rider to replace Hayden in the Repsol-team many moons ago. Hayden may feel some-kinda-way about that still. Hayden will value Dovi's input for the bike but he will be more motivated to beat him than Rossi! Good Luck to Cal and awaiting to hear his view on why Ducati left him hanging for so many months.

Just my guess. Hayden left Repsol, Dovi came, nothing between those guys. I think Dovi is much easier to live with than Rossi. And wanting to beat Dovi harder than Valentino Rossi, a nine times WC? Really?

Yeah, like thats gonna happen. :)

Hayden was elbowed out of Repsol Honda by the machinations of Alberto Puig. Actually Dovi & Hayden have something in common.... shabby treatment by Repsol Honda.

I was going to type this, but then indestrucible man did.

"I think Dovi's a better choice for those reasons. He's the type of rider the Ducati needs to adapt to. Crutchlow would have been an attempt to find another Stoner. I'm hoping that this choice is a demonstration of their commitment to building a bike that any rider could be comfortable on.
Though I suspect it will probably be a tough road for Dovi hopefully they're finally on the right path. And I certainly wish Cal well. He's a very promising rider and a hell of a personality."

I was at Indy and heard the Yamaha rider interviews after qualifying at 6 pm. Lorenzo was moderately entertaining (not as much as I have heard him before), Spies was Spies and also hurting from his practice highside, Dovi was Dovi and Cal was funny. The crowd burst into laughter 3x, all from Cal's comments. I agree, MotoGP needs more characters. Edwards was sorely missed from an entertainment standpoint.

Why would Nicky be more motivated to beat Dovi than Rossi? Rossi is a 9 time champion, if you beat him (and Nicky did), you can beat your chest on that! I like Dovi and he's done very well this year, but he's got a single 125 championship to his name. Doesn't quite stand up to Rossi's record, does it?

Actually Nicky would be the target for Dovi... Multiple MotoGP wins & a MotoGP championship beats one MotoGP win & a 125cc title any which way you dice it.

Still an interesting question as to who is the #1 rider for Ducati now.

They haven't even begun to explore the possibilities inherent in the current 90º layout. When they talked about a 'new engine' for Laguna, I assumed it would be the 90, but with a revised sprocket location, altered center of mass, etc. IMO, this is exactly the sort of iterative approach they need to adopt. Unfortunately they seem incapable of doing so. Is there a lack of engineers and designers, or is company bureaucracy somehow paralyzing the R/D efforts? If they could crank out a new engine revision every other month, they just might get somewhere (to the extent that the engine's characteristics are to blame for the bike's ills.)

I don't buy the recent groupthink that states the 90º cylinder banks somehow poison the bike's handling. The Honda is supposed to be quite close to 90º and it works well enough. These engines are already very small and compact; moving one cylinder bank an inch closer to the other won't / can't change the fundamental nature of the bike.

IMO, the first thing they need to consider is an 'upgrade' to an honest 1000cc capacity. That would almost certainly allow a softer torque curve, yet provide equal peak power. There's some conjecture that they went with the 930cc (or whatever it is) in search of better fuel economy at partial throttle (where the bikes spend much of their time.) I wonder if jumping to 1000cc might then require _$ignificant_ mods to the fuel system and associated electronics. At the least, they should explore the multi-bank injector scheme that has been grinding 'round the rumor mill lately. It's a frelling shame that the rules ban lots of potentially useful tech, such as variable-length intake trumpets. Street bikes already do this, and it's just the sort of tweak that would improve both economy and ride-ability.

AFAIK the Honda is around 70º.
Also, the manufacturers have agreed not to change engine capacity over the next two years. So Ducati are stuck with 930cc or whatever they have now.
Plus, the problem with the not so smooth power delivery is mostly down to electronics from what I've heard.

Maybe Dovi will arrive in time for the Duc to come good and everyone will praise Dovi for his development work. I do wonder if Dovi's input will be valued over Hayden's. I'd like to think it wouldn't be, but Dovi is on a Yamaha this year and a Honda last year. He's at least in the position that he should still know both other bikes fairly well. I'm not too sure of the whole "team" thing in regards to development direction - can 4 different riders really have input valued relatively equally, or will it be a case of too many cooks?

While this might be the result of Plan B or Plan C for Ducati it looks like it might all be a better course for all concerned. Dovi is probably the best rider out there just shy of the Aliens. He has recent experience with both of the current Honda and Yamaha designs. To expect results other than what Ducati have been achieving in recent years would be unrealistic and the press release seems to word it so. It's good to see that their focus is more on development than thinking that they just need the right rider & a minor tweak to put them equal with Honda & Yamaha. I expect Dovi will fall back and be circulating with Hayden. A very good pair to show the potential of the bike. When and if progress is made to where the Ducatis start edging forward in the results to where they are regularly in front of the satellites and stealing podiums when a Japanese factory rider stumbles then they can be looking for a title contender in a rider. Now they can be a proper underdog to root for while they develop instead of a series of failed celebrity marriages. Good luck Dovi, good luck Ducati!

Might just as well signed Tony Elias. This isn't going to advance Ducati one bit. Wrong rider choice.

Hayden will be the number one rider for Ducati, there's no doubt about that whatsoever.

Although Hayden and Dovi were both shafted by Repsol Honda... Hayden must have had a smirk atleast when Dovi got the short end of the stick like he did by Honda when Dovi took his place on that team years ago. Hayden was a test-rider (world champion) for Dani at the time riding a bike built for somebody the size of a monkey! Dovi and Hayden are both class-b riders in MotoGP... neither on the same level with Rossi... pre-Ducati. Hayden has a 1-year contract and Dovi a 2-year! Hayden will want to prove that he's worthy of a new contract next year by beating Dovi and being the top Ducati rider. Besides, Dovi will be focusing on NOT having performances like Rossi for the last 2 years.

There are some signs there that the adage of "you won't change until the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the same" is applicable here. Ducati seems to have figured that out now. I truly hope they get the wax out of their ears and listen to what every rider has been telling them for years. Its time for change for them. I also truly hope they get the sort of support from Audi that they desperately need to turn things over faster (seemingly a source of frustration for many fore a long time as well).

As fans we need them to be really competitive so that the health of the competition doesn't diminish any further. Dovi taking the seat is a good step for him and the team. He is a hard worker and consistent. I hope he does well and the pairing with Nick Hayden is good.

I intend making a sacrifice to the Motorcycle racing deities this weekend asking for their support in getting Ducati back to the podium ...... but not too often. I will also be sacrificing my first born so that Casey changes his mind and decides to race on. OK, maybe not my first born, but his smelly underwear is getting the BBQ treatment.

"Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio explained in the press release that the reason for signing Dovizioso was his technical ability and his testing skills..." ... and he is the only rider capable of fogging a mirror that was willing to throw his leg over the bike and his reputation out of the window at the same time.

bad move.

Oh, I actually think post-Rossi Ducati is a pretty safe place to be, reputation-wise. If Dovi does well, he achieves something only Stoner did before. If he struggles... well, he's still not doing any worse than what Rossi himself managed.

Dovi's decision is a mixed bag. If he cracks it - a consistent podium run would probably mean he has - he looks like a star. On the other hand, if he doesn't, he doesn't do that much damage to his reputation, but he would've lost time.

It will be interesting as I am not that sure the Ducati is that far off the pace... yes I know out on a limb.

Ignoring that it has done Rossi's head in compare Hayden's qualifying times from this year to when he was on the Honda in 2008. If you compare his time to the person on pole it is not that radically different. A number are within 2 tenths one or two more but Mugello the gap was 2/10ths closer to pole on the Duc.

If you look at the way the bike handles compared to 2010 and start of 2011 there is no comparison. It no longer "pig roots" out of corners and with the Alu frame the crashing has also reduced.

The less frequent crashing is not because of a better frame, but because Rossi, as he's said himself, does not push it as hard as Stoner did.
If it had been Stoner on the bike there would still have been a lot of crashes, but probably also some podiums and wins along with it.

lucky he did not push last year than how many more than the 12 times would he have crashed and Casey would have crashed more than 12 times going nearly a second a lap slower...

The two main crashes Rossi has had this year were just off vertical so nothing like the majority of last years which were between mid turn and the apex.

If you look back at the differences between CS and Rossi from FP1 through Warm Up; What would we note?

In my observation, Casey typically went out in FP1 and set a fast time about lap 3 and then came in. Then he'd go back out for another 3-4 fast laps and come in. He did this remarkable routine from FP1 through about half way in the Q session. The result was lots of short 100% laps broken up by long pit stops. But the total lap count seemed always to be low.

In my observation, riders like Rossi, Jorge, Spies and the like typically went out in FP1 slow and steadily built pace right to the end. In the few races I saw live, Rossi never even bumped into his traction control until late in FP2.

Then there is Nicky: He goes out relatively fast and bumps into his traction control early and stays out there lap after lap; often having all sorts of issues and often makes little progress relative to the others. But he definitely logs the laps...

The only rider I note that goes out 100% early in FP1 is Crutchlow...but then, he usually bins it before the race and maybe in the race again.

What about Dovi? He seems pretty quick early too, but stays out for lots of laps.

What does that mean?

I don't know, but Casey Stoner never rides a hot lap less that 110%. He routinely searched his limit in the first 4 laps of the very first session. That suggests, he was looking for a fast set-up immediately and gave himself many more pit stop opportunities to find something that worked.

I hope Dovi can do that too. It is pretty obvious that the traditional steady eddy method of finding speed doesn't work with the finicky Ducati. Anybody else have any ideas why CS had sucess and nobody else has?

He's a very talented rider that can find the limit of the bike by changing his riding style to the bike's dynamics. He's adaptive, that is why he went from the Ducati to the Honda and immediately lap in the top of the field at the first test on the Honda. It is more about Casey being that flexible than the Ducati being different.

Can Dovi now suggest that Mr Rossi should be trying harder on the Ducati?