Looking Back At 2013 - Rating The Riders: 8th, Andrea Dovizioso, 5/10

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 Marquez; part 2, Jorge Lorenzo; part 3, Dani Pedrosa; part 4, Valentino Rossi; part 5, Cal Crutchlow; part 6, Alvaro Bautista; and part 7, Stefan Bradl.

Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Factory
Championship position: 8th
Score: 5/10

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, you 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 updates which 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.

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Just my take. 2 factory outfits in 3 years on 3 different marq's. Some win,most lose. Dovi soldiered along with aplomb 2013. Crikey! was Nick not his expereinced Ducat team mate ? Who came out tops ?
Nick/Rossi had everything Ducati behind them for many years,to the extent that Stoner got dumped . Should you all be in doubt ?
Ask Prezzi. Hang on... Tardozzi, Suppo. And HRC...God Bless 'em.
Back to Dovi.
Its easy to disenfranchise a great racer based solely on scorecard. The battles between himself, Marco#58 and Jorge bear testiment. Harken back to 250 2 stroke era.
Generally bounces better than the rest.

If Dovi was getting discouraged before this news came out I'm sure he must be on suicide watch right now! Wonder if Crutchlow is thinking I didn't sign up for this!
I'm sure it makes a ton of sense for Ducati to do this, but from a riders standpoint they've got to be thinking "OK another throw away season hoping we develop something" I'm sure Ducati will make a ton of progress by doing this, but for next season me thinks they'll be even further down than last year. For Dovi being in his contract year I can't for a second believe he thinks this is good news. Maybe Crutchlow will see the benefit of it all in 2015...

I enjoy reading the season reviews, but this rating riders is arbitrary and pointless. They just raced a season and rated themselves.

Agreed. But as the great British TV presenter likes to say, it's 'Just a bit of fun'. And it has generated some interesting opinions.

Dovi tried hard at each and every circuit last year! He rode hard and well... on the lame duck! As a Factory-Rider, the last thing Dovi wanted was to get passed by his team-mate (NH69) or a satellite rider namely B.Smith-Tech3. Dovi fought hard and long with Hayden and Smith several times. He gets at least a 9 for effort but Ducati gets a -2 for results!

I got a real sense that Dovizioso just gave up around half season. He did what was expected, but nothing more. It was actually quite depressing talking to him.

Well, he DID finish ahead of his team make.
Seems you're docking him a point (vs. Hayden's 6) because he doesn't take as many anti-depressants as Nicky? :)

He is a good solid rider, but he just has not been able to maintain the top level speed. Maybe never will. He has had some of the best rides out there. Factory Honda, came in 3rd overall one year and got a win out it, but Dovi does not seem like he will be able to get much else. Even with a top bike. Hopefully Ducati turns things around, makes a bike that you do not have to have Alien speed to win on. Doubt it, but for Dovi's sake, hope something happens at Ducati because right now they are known as the factory to break some very fast rider's spirits.

Yes, I admit I've never rated Dovizioso and considering the number of factory rides he has had I believe if he didn't have a contract Ducati would do well to part company.

Last year he gave up early in the year and both riders just found their safe level and rode around for the cash.

This year, Cal has got everything to prove and everyone thing to lose. Sadly, his "team mate", remember they were together at Tech 3, will either piggyback off Cal's efforts or do his best to get in the way.

I would'nt be surprised if this year there are'nt several of those sad shots of Cal sitting in the pits, halfway through the race, waving pathetically at the camera and shrugging his shoulders.