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.
MotoGP 2019's biggest battle: Ducati v Honda
The first in a series examining how each of MotoGP’s six factories is aiming to gain the advantage going into the 2019 championship
The last two seasons have been all about Ducati and Honda. Those two manufacturers have won all but five of the last 36 races, and the battle for the 2019 MotoGP title will most likely see the duel continue.
Last year the Desmosedici and RC213V were more closely matched than ever, so what are the engineers in Bologna, Italy, and Asaka, Japan, working to improve for their 2019 contest? We spoke to Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati Corse manager Gigi Dall’Igna from Ducati, and Marc Márquez and HRC director Tetsuhiro Kuwata from Honda to find out.
DUCATI: WORKING ON THE FINE DETAILS
Ducati goes into 2019 hoping it can make a better job of challenging Honda for the MotoGP title than it did last year, when the great promise of 2017 mostly went unfulfilled.
In theory, challenging Honda will be more difficult than ever in 2019, with Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo on Repsol RC213Vs, but Ducati hopes that Dovizioso and new team-mate Danilo Petrucci will make a more united, and therefore stronger, team than its 2018 line-up.
“The idea is that Andrea and Danilo will work more closely together,” says Dall’Igna.
And who knows, Dall’Igna could be right – after all, he’s not stupid. Much will depend on what happens in the Repsol garage, but Dovizioso and Petrucci are already working closely together, by training alongside each other this winter. Whatever happens, the contrasting team dynamics will be interesting to watch.
Dovizioso isn’t sad to have lost Lorenzo as a team-mate – it was no secret that the pair didn’t get on.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.