HRC Press Release: Andrea Dovizioso On MotoGP Electronics, Moto2, And Italian Riders

Every so often, the major factories will send out press releases containing interviews with riders. All too often, however, those interviews turn out to be rather sanitized affairs, any critical note removed by company PR people. So the following interview with Andrea Dovizioso comes as a breath of fresh air. Despite being a press release from Honda, Dovizioso talks freely about the state of the Honda RC212V, the state of Italian riders, Moto2 and MotoGP. He offers some clear and cogent criticism of the Moto2 class, and calls, as so many riders have done, for a drastic reduction in electronics in MotoGP. A very interesting read.


ANDREA DOVIZIOSO FEATURE

Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso is having the best year of his MotoGP career.

Now in his fourth year in the MotoGP class, and third with the Repsol Honda team, Dovi heads to his home race at Mugello third in the championship and not far from second. Consistency has been his strength this season. The Italian from Forli, one of three 25-year-old former world champions on the Repsol Honda team, has been on the podium in three of the past four races, including in the cold and wet at Silverstone and on the cold track in the Dutch TT in Assen. Other than an off day in the wet/dry Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez, Dovizioso hasn't been worse than fourth this year.

Like his team-mates, Dovizioso has benefited from upgrades to the Honda RC212V, which has dominated the podium this season. The most newsworthy enhancement is the seamless gearbox, which shifts so smoothly and so quickly that it doesn't unsettle the rear tyre. We thought that was a good place to start our talk with Andrea.

How exactly does the gearbox improve the lap time?

AD: Two things. One is the acceleration. You have faster shifting so it makes a really, really small difference in speed, but more in acceleration. But most important for the feeling of the rider is that when you're shifting on the dry, when you need to shift leaned over, the shifting is softer, faster and smoother. This makes a small difference, because there is electronic shifting and the ignition cuts out for a very small time. This time that the engine cuts out is smaller with the new transmission. The main problem in the past was when you were spinning and you needed to shift. This transmission makes it better. It's good. In some tracks, in some corners, it makes a big difference. For example in Valencia in the last corner you need to shift twice and there you can decide the line and slide a bit easier.

The transmission is just one of many improvements of the Honda RC212V.

AD: Much of the media spoke about the transmission too much, I think. I can say two things about that: When I tried that transmission it is something special for the rider, because you never try something big, a big mechanical difference. Because you never try something big, when you feel this you can say, 'Wow, it's so good.' And this is a really good point and Honda did a really good job with it, but it didn't make a big difference in lap time. I mean, very small. I don't believe it makes three, four-tenths a lap. It's not like this. But on the bike everything is important. So if you can improve three or four-tenths with all the improvements, it's really important.

You and Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa all have very different riding styles.

AD: Yeah, all three riders. I thought, no, but it is like this. Big, big differences everywhere. Braking, lean angle on corner entry, throttle opening, traction control. Everything.

So when you're developing the motorcycle, who has the most influence?

AD: We'll see next year. About this year it wasn't a problem, because there wasn't much development on the bike, there were improvements, but not development. The bike already was good. We changed a few things and made a small difference and this year we have a really good bike. But already the development is done. I think if you have a good bike with a good balance for all three riders, it's good. After that the teams will arrive at what they need to to follow the style of the riders. The important development is having a good base motorcycle. After that the important thing is the rider with the team and the engineers.

When Casey joined the team did that change the path of development?

AD: No, nothing. The bike was already done; just he needed to adapt the bike to his style of riding.

You believe he's the fastest rider in MotoGP?

AD: I think about the speed, yes, but it is not just the speed to win the championship. Because if you speak about the speed he would have ten championships, but it isn't like this.

You and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) are the last of the Italian riders to come to the MotoGP class and there isn't a strong core of Italians in the 125cc class.

AD: It's difficult to answer about this question, because one reason maybe is the small championships in Italy are not so good. I think Spain works very good and we can see a lot of Spanish riders coming stronger and this makes a difference. I think there is a lot of talent in the world, but you need to give the possibility for the riders to show their talent. And maybe in Italy, like many places, it's not the best. And sometimes you need to be lucky to find talented riders.

Who do you think is the next Italian to come to MotoGP?

AD: I think (Andrea) Iannone can be the next, but at this moment, about the speed, he's so good, really, really good. About the position on the bike, he's good, but still he's not ready to come into MotoGP. I think already everybody saw him ride so fast, maybe the fastest, maybe, in Moto2, but this is not enough, and you can see many riders coming into MotoGP and it ends their career. So it's better if he wins the Moto2 championship or he is more consistent. After that he can arrive with more experience and stronger in MotoGP. This is so important when you arrive in MotoGP.

You rode a 250 and you've watched Moto2. Which class do you think better prepares you for MotoGP?

AD: There is no comparison; Moto2 is so bad about that for many reasons. The 250 two-stroke, there's nothing similar to MotoGP, but if you are fast on a 250, you are fast, because it's so difficult to be fast on a 250. So when you arrive with good speed on a 250, it means you did a good job, you can understand many things and you are really precise on the throttle. Sure, you don't have the experience of riding four-strokes, but if you see in the past all the talent came from 250 and from the first year they can fight for the podium and fight for the victory. Many people come from Superbike and it's very similar to MotoGP, but nothing happens. It means if you are fast in 250 there is a reason. In Moto2, no. I never tried the bike, so I can't say exactly, but it looks like there isn't enough power. So it's easy because it's a four-stroke and you have too much engine braking. This makes it slide on the entry and this is the opposite way of riding 250 and MotoGP, completely the opposite way. So you learn a style different from MotoGP and this style makes the talent of the riders close, because this is the limit of the bikes. You can do nothing about that.

Do you think for the next generation of riders it's going to be more difficult to adapt to MotoGP?

AD: Sure, but after the talent that is in MotoGP now, everyone will come from Moto2, so it's not a problem.

Are you looking forward to racing the 1000 next year?

AD: Yes, I'm very excited to try, because I think it'll be a nicer bike, not a big difference, because surely you will have more power on the bottom. This is what Honda doesn't have. Just this, Honda doesn't have. I think it will be one of the best bikes in the world.

If you were put in charge of MotoGP, what would you change?

AD: What I would like to change is the electronics system. It's something very important for the safety, something very important for the street bike, so this is really good. But to have fun riding the bike on the track and to have a battle on the race track, you need to cut the electronic system. Not everything, but more than 50%, because the bike without the electronics system is uncontrollable and when you need to control a difficult bike you're sliding a lot, you're making more mistakes than now, so everybody is closer; it depends, but they can be closer and you're spinning more. Everything is nicer, so this I would like to see happen, but I'm 99% sure it will not happen, but for a good reason. And what I don't like about the MotoGP world, but not just MotoGP, I think it's the world, is the TV and the media put more attention on funny riders, not on the faster rider. This I don't like. I don't like it because I'm one of them. I'm normal, and this the media doesn't like. This is funny, because I can't change my character because the media wants this. This is really bad, but it's bad for the result for how many risks you take on the track. You're fighting, fighting, fighting, you are one of the best riders in the world, but if you are not funny, not many people are speaking about you. This I don't like, but this is not just MotoGP. This is the world and this is very bad for the sport.

2011

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Comments

When is Dorna or the MSMA going to pull their heads out if their asses and fix this electronics and fuel issue? The riders hate it, most fans find the racing it creates boring and most of it can't be applied to their street bikes. How can they be so ignorant and dare I say, stupid? Do they really think switching back to the 1000s will fix it? Like the American television coverage issue, everyone I know hates Speed's coverage, I know a few of them have written in, yet no change.

Organizations need an easy way to receive instant feedback from their consumers.

Total votes: 93

No one or no company is perfect. I'm thankful that SpeedTV covers motorcycle racing. No other network does over here.

Even though I purchased the MotoGP package (probably the best money I've ever spent I recon) I still put my TV on the Speed channel while the race is on to up their ratings.

Go Spies !

Total votes: 79

Need to be more responsive to the people talking to them.
They say they listen, but pretty much ignore anything that doesn't fit with their agenda
All the riders say dial back the electronics, but the 'organisation', whether it be Dorna or MMSA,
won't come to that party.
Why not?

Total votes: 86

That was a fun read. Dovi definitely doesn't get the cred he deserves. So consistent, just missing that last lil bit to put him in the next tier of riders...

Total votes: 76

Cracked little toe. I do hope Dovi takes the next step up the podium ladder in a dry race. Arguably the king of the current crop of late braker's.
Were he as inconsiderate a racer as Marco,I suspect he would have more top step podiums under his belt.
Being top Italian rider is a definite possibility this weekend.
His comments about Moto 2 being a feeder class to GP are well absorbed.

Total votes: 81

I have to rescind my previous comments (in another post) about honest opinions coming from press releases. For me the highlights were his negative comments about moto2 and his complaints about not getting a lot of press because he's not 'funny'.

I wonder if that comes from being a very fast Italian rider that has to share coverage with Simoncelli and Rossi? No doubt that Rossi deserves his press but Simoncelli, while fast, is getting ink for all the wrong reasons right now. Meanwhile Dovi is pushing hard at the front on an excellent team.

Also, credit Dovi for conducting this interview in English. It's important not to underestimate how difficult it is to express nuance in a second language.

Thanks for posting this.

Total votes: 97

I was particularly interested to read his rather damning indictment of Moto2 as a poor preparation for MotoGP. Quite true. Over and above the points Dovi mentions there are also the Dunlop tyres with characteristics completely different to the 'Stones on the big bikes.

For those that state the RCV has made a big step forward this year, Dovi has shot that partisan myth down too. A couple of tenths from the gearbox, nothing more. A good gain yes, but hardly the arm chair ride, bike doing all the work, quantum leap some on here would have us believe. 2010 was the year HRC finally got it right.

He's a class act Dovi but will forever remain that half step behind the elite. We've since that ever since he graduated to the 250 class. Where he ends up next year will be interesting to see.

Total votes: 78

Perhaps not to the informed fan, but to the casual observer, Moto2 is a motorbike race with lots of competitors while MotoGP is another race with fewer competitors. The lap times aren't a million miles apart in the 'wet' races we've had either. I know there are issues about having a suitable feeder class, but when you think about the background of the likes of King Kenny, maybe what the series needs is something which looks very different. What about a supermoto support race in place of Moto3? It might encourage some of the TV stations to cover more than just the headline race.

I think Tiger Tone has done Moto2 a disservice by flopping in MotoGP, but Karel A seems to have done much better than anyone every imagined. I've a feeling Marc Marques will go well when he moves up, but he'll probably stay in Moto2 for a while yet. With the prohbitive costs of GP racing, we may also see successful transfers from Moto2 to WSB, especially when you consider how well Max and Marco are doing.

Total votes: 76

Especially the comment he makes about funnier riders getting move coverage in the media... and it's true! I'd rather sit down and read a bunch of random quotes from Colin Edwards than go through most other sort of post-race interviews.

But this is a good move from Honda - if the media won't give coverage to the faster riders (only the funnier riders), then Honda can do it themselves! It certainly worked and had me sitting down to read, and I was interested!

Total votes: 78

I do agree largely on what he has to say about moto2, even though he does not mention the fact that it has very little to do with GP's apart from the race being ridden in between the 125 and MotoGP classes.
I do find the last part a little pathetic though, complaining that he gets less attention than 'funny riders' (with long hair). Fact is, Dovizioso is indeed being praised when he takes another strong podium result, but what else is there to be said? If he wants more attention than that, then he should either ride spectacularly (say Stoner and Simoncelli), make blunt and straightforward remarks that are refreshing and politically incorrect (Stoner again, Edwards, Simoncelli as well) or be outright hilarious (Edwards, and maybe someone else too). At least he did make a start now by giving some strong opinions about especially the moto2 class that Dorna etc have rammed down our throats as something truly beautiful. Now keep that going, Dovi.

Total votes: 92

If humour is not his cup of tea I guess he can aim at 9 wcs. They should bring him the spotlight too :)

Total votes: 94

...is the red hair.

I figured this one slipped past without too much scrutiny from Honda's PR hacks. After all, it's just Dovi.

Total votes: 78

I do appreciate and agree with a lot of what Dovi says (moto2, electronics etc) ... but I don't about the "last part" ... funny guys ... come on, Stoner, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Simoncelli are not "funny" ... they are just fast and win races (except Simoncelli :) ) ... and sorry Rossi's glory is just well deserved, Dovi Im sure agrees about that ... but Dovi NEVER won a race on dry, NEVER gives us a real "all in" fight... he just has what he deserves, big respect and few love ... that's it

With the bike he has, he could do better ... at least try ... but he doesn't, because it is not his "way of riding" ... good! but don't cry ! ... press only reflects what people wants..

And what we want is fight, few "calculating" (sorry for the english) and victories ... no more no less

I'm quite affraid for him .. I mean, a real champion wouldn't say that... a real champion (and Hayden and Edwards are) will always talk about future, his need of glory, victories .. but ok, he's "normal" as he says ... but do motogp riders can be "normal" and loved ?

Total votes: 83

A few years ago Kenny Roberts (3 time 500 champ) was of the strong belief that two-stroke race bikes were better than four-strokes for teaching up-and-comers throttle connection with the rear tyre. What type of engine has the FIA Kart Federation chosen - and how many kids are racing Karts in the world today? Several thousand probably. Karting now has an Under 15 (13-15) world championship (3 rounds, with riders qualifying through their regional championships) as well as an Under 18 year-old championship. In the 1990s, Japan had 1500 riders racing 125GP bikes - how many have they got on Moto2 or SS600 now? To get riders up to speed on MotoGP bikes, Dovizioso is right, they need experience on lively motorcycles. However, Ben Spies did not come from a 250GP background, while curiously, Colin Edwards did... So, reiterating another of King Kenny's comments: "talent is talent whether they're on Superbikes or 250GP bikes." But if we are to have more riders with ability to race at the top level, we need more riders coming into the sport (and more staying there). At the moment, the four-stroke thing is going to kill racing due to cost. That's why the European motocross bike makers are flat-out making two-strokes...

Total votes: 83