It’ll take a minor miracle for Andrea Dovizioso to win the MotoGP title this weekend in Valencia. Twenty points down, Dovi will have to pull everything he can from the Ducati and hope that fate twists in an unfamiliar way for Marc Marquez if the Italian has any chance at the title.
Dovi is an anomaly in MotoGP racing. He’s not regarded as one of the aliens and doesn’t really have the cut throat mentality of the new class of MotoGP racers. He’s a realist and even didn’t seem to throw up much dust when Ducati and Marlboro spent something around ten million Euro to entice Jorge Lorenzo to ride the Ducati, making Dovi’ the “B” rider. He’s seen it before.
I know a guy that works with Dovi and has for years. In the middle of Dovi’s impressive string of wins this season I told Dovi’s guy that I was surprised that Italy hadn’t already made Andrea some kind of Italian national hero–simply because he has delivered on nearly every single obligation that Valentino Rossi had when he went to Ducati Corse. An Italian on an Italian bike, Rossi was supposed to win races and challenge for the title. For whatever reason Rossi failed in a big way, never even won a single race on the Ducati. Now Andrea Dovizioso delivers, and while there has been celebration and acclaim, it’s not even close to the roar that Italy produced when Rossi simply signed to ride for Ducati. How about some additional credit where credit is due, isn’t Dovi just a little miffed that there aren’t small huddles of Italians considering which part of their body to tattoo his number?.
“Dovi doesn’t think like that,” his friend said. “He doesn’t care that Valentino came here and failed. If anything he probably understands how hard it was for Valentino while he was here because for sure he knows how bad the bike was then and how hard Valentino had to ride.“
Well, then, what’s Dovi like? Is he a ‘silent killer’ kind of rider?
“He’s exactly as you see him. He’s a good guy; he’s friendly, he’s serious and he’s blunt. He’s not into a giant flash lifestyle and spouting off to the press. He likes to keep a picture of his daughter on the top of top stock of his bike. He loves his daughter and cares about his family.”
Valencia is a track where anything can happen. Troy Bayliss won a MotoGP race as a fill-in rider. Our Nick won his MotoGP title there. The place is more TT track than a MotoGP track in some ways. Bayliss and Stoner won at Valencia on a Ducati so anything truly is possible.
But even if it goes the wrong way for Dovi’ in Valencia and he gets beaten for the title by perhaps the greatest rider of all time (Marquez) there will be no shame for the Italian. Thanks to his journeyman-like work ethic Ducati is now a contender.
A world championship means very little when you take your child to the park.