Dovizioso seeking answers for neck problem
30 November 2012
New factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso is seeking solutions for an unexpected neck problem that forced him to miss all three days of private testing at Jerez this week.
The Italian, returning to factory status after a successful season at Monster Yamaha Tech 3, should have been getting his first real chance to understand the Desmosedici this week, after a rain-interrupted debut test at Valencia.
Instead Dovizioso returned to the pits after just two laps on Wednesday, due to the neck issue - being described as a muscle strain - and was unable to ride thereafter.
One possibility is that the 26-year-old tweaked his neck during last weekend's Monza Rally Show appearance, but Dovi revealed the problem first occured during October's Sepang round.
“It's something I had experienced at the GP in Malaysia, where I crashed twice, and in Australia, where I crashed once, and both times I had physiotherapy treatments and anti-inflammatory medicine," said Dovizioso, fourth overall with six podiums this season.
"It re-emerged last week two days after a crash on my motocross bike, but the same treatment worked and I felt fine when I came to Jerez for the test. Unfortunately, it happened again after just a few laps, and this time we weren't able to resolve it with physio and anti-inflammatories.
"It seems that the problem is probably bigger than we had previously thought, and I'll have to undergo some further medical tests."
With Dovizioso sidelined, team-mate Nicky Hayden shared the track with Pramac Ducati rookie Andrea Iannone and factory test rider Michele Pirro, plus the Avintia Blusens CRT squad and several WSBK teams.
Full testing was possible on the first two days, but bad weather spoilt the Friday action, meaning Hayden's Thursday best of 1m 40.090s remained unbeaten.
That time is half a second quicker than Hayden managed when qualifying third at Jerez for round two of the 2012 season, but damp conditions during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend meant that the old 800cc qualifying and race lap records remained unbroken.
"Unfortunately, Andrea's fluke problem with his neck was a setback, but Nicky turned some good lap times despite the tyres being at their limit in the cool conditions," said team manager Vittoriano Guareschi.
Behind Hayden at the test was Iannone with a 1m 40.989s, followed by Pirro, riding in place of the injured Ben Spies, with a lap of 1m 41.265s.
With the winter test ban starting on December 1, Dovizioso - already scheduled to have a plate removed from his shoulder next week, inserted last January to heal a collarbone fracture - will now have to wait until Sepang in early February, for what will hopefully be his first full test on a Desmosedici.