Andrea Dovizioso will not complete the 2022 MotoGP season. Today, Yamaha announced that the Italian had decided to end his career at Misano, his home race (Dovizioso is from Forlì, some 70 kilometers away). Yamaha official test rider Cal Crutchlow will take Dovizioso's place in the RNF WithU Yamaha team for the remainder of the 2022 season.
The decision did not come as a surprise. Dovizioso had joined Yamaha after a sabbatical year forced on him when he was dropped from the Ducati team at the end of the 2020 season along with Danilo Petrucci, to make way for Pecco Bagnaia and Jack Miller. However, despite Dovizioso having spent a season on a satellite Tech3 Yamaha back in 2012, the Italian never really gelled with the M1, and struggled to make the bike work for him.
Rumors emerged in June that Dovizioso was considering ending his career after the summer break, something which he halfheartedly denied when asked in Barcelona. Will you be in Silverstone? he was asked. "I think so," he replied.
But his problems with the Yamaha meant he was not enjoying racing at all. "You can’t enjoy when you are on the back," Dovizioso said after Barcelona. He had just been hanging on and doing what he could to finish, rather than trying to figure out a way to be competitive. "During this year, every race was a nightmare for me. I was surviving. It's not about making a strategy and deciding something, because I don't have the speed in my control. And when you are behind now MotoGP has become bad about that, because it affects a lot the way to ride, the performance of the tires, especially the front. So it's difficult behind."
Thus ends a long and illustrious career for Andrea Dovizioso. Though he only won a single world championship - the 125cc title in 2004 - he was always a contender. He finished second in the 250cc championship in 2006 and 2007, and was runner up to Marc Marquez for three years in a row from 2017 to 2019. He won 15 MotoGP races and amassed 62 MotoGP podiums, and a total of 103 podiums across all three classes.
Above all, Dovizioso was appreciated for his analytical insight. No one was both able and willing to explain the nuances and finesses of riding and racing a MotoGP bike like Andrea Dovizioso once Casey Stoner retired. He had a deep understanding of what a motorcycle could and should do, and could explain it in clear and simple terms to journalists with a necessarily limited understanding of racing.
What Dovizioso does next is not yet known, but it seems almost certain it will be in motocross, rather than MotoGP. Motocross was always Dovizioso's greatest passion, and he trained and raced MX whenever the opportunity presented itself. This was never more obvious than when Adam Wheeler, owner of digital magazine On Track Off Road and MXGP guru turned up at MotoGP races. Dovizioso usually avoided trying to chat informally with journalists once his official media duties were done, but when Adam turned up, Dovizioso would make a beeline for him and grill him on the latest developments in the MXGP paddock.
The press release from Yamaha appears below.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO TO RETIRE FROM MOTOGP AFTER 2022 SAN MARINO GP
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. confirm MotoGP star Andrea Dovizioso‘s decision to retire from his 20-year Grand Prix racing career at the 2022 Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, exactly one year after joining Yamaha‘s MotoGP programme.
Silverstone (UK), 4th August 2022
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. announce that MotoGP star Andrea Dovizioso has decided to retire from MotoGP after the upcoming Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini.
Dovizioso and Yamaha have maintained a warm relationship since he completed a successful season with the Tech3 Yamaha satellite team in 2012, resulting in six third places and fourth place in the final standings. He rejoined Yamaha‘s satellite rider line-up at the 2021 San Marino GP when Franco Morbidelli moved up to the Factory Team.
Dovizioso was originally planning to stay with the WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Racing Team for the entire 2022 MotoGP season, riding a factory-spec YZR-M1 and receiving full support from Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., but recently decided to end his career at his Misano home race.
Yamaha‘s official test rider Cal Crutchlow will be the substitute rider for the WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team for the remaining six races of the 2022 season.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, YAMAHA MOTOR RACING
I want to start by saying that, of course, we are all sad that Andrea will be leaving the sport earlier than expected. He is a big name in MotoGP, and he will be missed in the paddock.
"We considered ourselves very lucky last year that he was available and willing to join our MotoGP programme when Franky switched to the Yamaha Factory Team thus creating the need for a replacement rider for the remainder of the 2021 season. Andrea‘s great expertise, experience, and methodical nature were of great interest to Yamaha and the RNF team and the project was fixed to include the full 2022 season.
"Unfortunately, Andrea has struggled to extract the maximum potential out of the M1 and thus the results have not been forthcoming, which has created understandable frustration for Andrea. Finally during the summer break, he confirmed to us his desire to retire before the end of the season.
"After mutual discussions it was deemed appropriate for Andrea to ride his final race in Misano at his home GP. Naturally, Yamaha will continue to give ’Dovi‘ their full support over the next three races. In the meantime, let‘s enjoy his last three GPs and celebrate in Misano the end of a spectacular career.
WITHU YAMAHA RNF MOTOGP RIDER
I thank Lin for his words, I totally agree with them. In 2012, the experience with the Iwata manufacturer in MotoGP had been very positive for me and since then I have always thought that, sooner or later, I would have liked to have an official contract with Yamaha. This possibility presented itself, actually in a somewhat daring way, during 2021. I decided to give it a try because I strongly believed in this project and in the possibility of doing well.
"Unfortunately, in recent years MotoGP has changed profoundly. The situation is very different since then: I have never felt comfortable with the bike, and I have not been able to make the most of its potential despite the precious and continuous help from the team and the whole of Yamaha.
"The results were negative, but beyond that, I still consider it a very important life experience. When there are so many difficulties, you need to have the ability to manage the situation and your emotions well. We did not reach the desired objectives, but the consultations with the Yamaha technicians and with those of my team have always been positive and constructive, both for them and for me. The relationship remained loyal and professionally interesting even in the most critical moments: it was not so obvious that that would happen.
"For all this and for their support, I thank Yamaha, the RNF Racing Team, WithU, and the other sponsors involved in the project. It didn't go as we hoped, but it was right to try. My adventure will end in Misano, but the relationship with all the people involved in this challenge will remain intact forever. Thank you all.