MotoGP 2022, Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha, RNF, rider market, silly season, contracts
MotoGP veteran Andrea Dovizioso has said he is ready to end his career at the end of this season after a painfully uncompetitive campaign with RNF Yamaha.
The three-time runner-up has only four points this season and is 22nd in the driver standings. He is tied on 10 points with direct Moto3 teammate Darryn Binder and only ahead of rookies Remy Gardner and Raúl Fernandez among his full-time rivals.
It’s a dramatic fall from being Marc Márquez’ second best rider in 2017-19 and fourth in 2020 before cutting ties with Ducati at the end of this year for a half-season sabbatical in 2021.
Watch all 2022 MotoGP World Championship practice, qualifying and races live and ad-free during the races on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Back full-time with the RNF latecomer this year and struggling for motivation in the twilight of his career, Dovizioso told the MotoGP website that he is ready to call it a day more than 21 years after joining the Grand Prix circuit.
“For sure I won’t run,” he said. “There is no reason to do so.
“I always say if I can’t be competitive, I don’t want to be here, because you really don’t like to sit there and struggle.
“In the end, you have to push, and if you don’t feel good about certain things, there’s no reason, especially after 20 years.
“I never tried to get a place for next year, because I think you have to be in the middle of a project and have a big boost because everyone is so competitive in this moment.
“I’m completely relaxed about it – I’ve already done six months of racing last year, so I’ve already tested [it]. I agree with that.
“For sure I didn’t want to end the season like that, because it’s so nice to be competitive – when you feel you can do a good time, fight for a good position, as always I I did – but no one has everything under control, and it can happen.
Dovizioso is on track to record the least competitive full-time season of his two-decade international career. He has never scored less than 42 points – his current trajectory would see him finish the season with around 20 points – and that is that in his rookie year finish a campaign below eighth place in the standings.
“It’s a completely different story for my career, so that’s the hardest thing,” he said. “To really not be there, it’s the first time for me.
“It’s difficult to manage, especially as practice after practice, race after race, it becomes more and more the reality.
“Every race is a really tough race because every time we go on the back and everything gets even tougher.
“In training we already have a little trouble being in the middle of the group, and when we start from the back in the race, everything is worse.”
But the Italian has spoken all season about the role the bike played in his sudden demise.
While Fabio Quartararo uses the same M1 to lead the championship standings, the other three Yamaha riders struggled to score even minor points.
His factory teammate Franco Morbidelli is 19th with just 25 points, while Biner and Dovizioso are 21st and 22nd.
“I think the Yamaha right now is quite unusual,” he said. “If you have a really good feeling, you can turn the bike very well and brake, but there are other parts that are not so good.
“If you don’t ride like Fabio, it’s very difficult to be competitive.
“If Fabio wins there is a reason, so that means there is a possibility to be fast. But if the other riders are complaining – like in recent years, with other teammates – that means he there aren’t many ways to be competitive like there used to be.
“For example, the way [Morbidelli and I] the path is completely opposite. Franco uses more angle each time and longer, he doesn’t brake hard – he’s the complete opposite of me, but the results are very similar.
“When there’s only one bike [winning]it means there may be only one way to be competitive.
While Quartararo complained that the bike’s main fault was power, Dovizioso protested that grip was the problem, even insisting that the Frenchman might feel the same if he had ridden for nothing. any other manufacturer in his MotoGP career.
He pointed to his competitive season for Tech3 Yamaha – between races for Honda and Ducati – as proof that his riding style was not mismatched.
“Fortunately, I ran [for Yamaha] in 2012, because if I hadn’t raced in 2012 with Yamaha, everyone could say: “Ah, with Yamaha, you can’t be competitive”. But that’s not the truth; it’s just for a different reason.
“It’s because MotoGP has changed. The bike has changed, the competitors have changed, the way you have to ride the bike is different – there are a lot of big and small reasons, and if you put it all together it happens what is happening to me now.
“MotoGP has changed a lot – a lot. In the past, 10 years ago, normally always the same riders were on top. No matter the bike, they were more or less able to stay there.
“Now it’s different because the mechanical parts are a bit more important than before. Everyone is on a good level, and small things can affect a lot.
Dovizioso said the struggles of the three Yamaha riders should serve as a warning to the Iwata constructor.
They would be the first team to fall into the trap of developing too strongly towards a superstar driver. Honda went much further down this road before Marc Márquez broke his arm in 2020, and it wasn’t until no other rider could adequately hold the fort in his absence that the depth of his bike has become clear.
MORE MOTOR SPORTS
‘I’M NOT STAYING AWAY’: Ricciardo takes charge as McLaren rumors swirl
MASI OUT: Former F1 race director speaks out for first time since 2021 Abu Dhabi debacle
FALSE DAWN? Why Ferrari fans shouldn’t be too excited about a resurgence just yet
Dovizioso predicted that Yamaha was on course to suffer the same fate if it didn’t act quickly.
“If you look now, all the Japanese [manufacturers] are in trouble,” he said.
“For sure Yamaha won last year. If you look at who won the title, again we’re only talking about a [rider].
“It’s always related to the match between the rider and the bike, but if you look at the second riders, they are very far away. This means that the base of the bike is a bit difficult and particular.
“It was Honda for the last eight years, and I think it’s Yamaha now.”
RNF will switch from Yamaha to Aprilia next season, but have yet to confirm their rider line-up.
Rumors have linked Miguel Oliveira to the Dovizioso seat, while Darryn Binder’s fate on the second bike hinges on whether Raúl Fernandez can be squeezed out of Tech3 KTM, the Spaniard known to be of keen interest to RNF director Razlan Razali.
Binder, who came straight from Moto3 to MotoGP, said he was ready to move to Moto2 if the silly premier class season put him out of the market.
MotoGP returns from the mid-season break with the British Grand Prix from August 5-7.