MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
The wisdom of Dovi and a marauding Márquez
So much to talk about from Qatar, so let’s work our way through the weekend like Andrea Dovizioso would if he was a journalist
Dovizioso was remarkable from Friday afternoon to Sunday night – cooler, calmer and more confident than I’ve ever known a championship contender. He applies science to his racing, working his way through problems logically and methodically until he achieves the result his calculations have predicted. If he thinks fourth place is the best he can achieve, he will be happy with fourth. If he thinks a win is possible, he will be happy with a win. And he was.
All weekend the Italian’s comments must’ve been a worry for his competitors, even though everyone knew that Dovizioso and his Desmosedici love Losail, finishing second on their last three visits.
“I feel good because the lap times come easy,” he said on Friday. “This helps us to work on the details for the race, because you have to be ready in every detail.”
On Saturday he apparently fluffed qualifying, ending up fifth fastest after slowing too much to avoid that frantic battle during Q2. But still… “I’m relaxed, our bike is working well.”
He was the same in the race. He made a horrible start, rounding the first corner in 10th. Many riders expecting to win would’ve panicked at that moment. But not Dovizioso.
“I was able to manage the race,” he said. “I was able to make a really terrible start and gain a lot of positions and at the same moment save the tyres and decide my strategy. It’s not so easy to have the chance to do this when MotoGP is at such a level, so I’m really happy about that.”
Too right. When you are fighting your way through the pack while making sure you don’t abuse your tyres and all the while you can look ahead, further down the track and further into the race, marking your rivals and deciding your tactics, then you have an ice-cold command of the situation. That says a lot about Dovizioso and it says a lot about the motorcycle that Ducati, crew chief Alberto Giribuola and Dovizioso have created.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.