Dovi: Special Quartararo style key to 'crazy' title season

Andrea Dovizioso praises Fabio Quartararo's title-winning MotoGP season, analyses a tough second race at Misano where; 'if you don’t ride in a special way like Fabio, you struggle a lot'.
Fabio Quartararo, Emilia-Romagna MotoGP race, 24 October 2021
Fabio Quartararo, Emilia-Romagna MotoGP race, 24 October 2021
© Gold and Goose

Having raced against Fabio Quartararo on a Ducati and now, for the past three races, as a fellow Yamaha rider, Andrea Dovizioso is well placed to analyse the new MotoGP world champion's title-winning campaign.

"I'm really happy for Fabio and I think he deserved it. But apart from that, I think he did something crazy this year," Dovizioso said. "Because like always - and I have the experience to say this - every time you watch from the outside it's impossible to see the negative points of a bike.

"He is so good to use all the good things of the bike, but he's also so good not to show the bad points of the bike. To be as consistent as he has been during this season, in every race, is something crazy, something special."

After leading Ducati's factory project from 2013-2020, finishing title runner-up on three occasions, then making a MotoGP comeback with Petronas Yamaha (using the A-Spec bike) from last month's opening Misano round, Dovizioso has experienced life on both sides of the Ducati-Yamaha fence.

On an M1 for the first time since 2012, Dovizioso's top priority is to understand what it takes to be quick on the Yamaha. With Quartararo the only M1 rider to even finish in the top nine since Maverick Vinales' Austrian exit, the Frenchman's technique has been an area of particular attention.

Quartararo himself cited better front-end feeling as playing a pivotal part in his title success. Dovi also feels the standout feature of the #20's riding is braking and corner entry which, incidentally, is also the perceived area of advantage for Francesco Bagnaia over his fellow Ducati riders.

"I think in this kind of track [Misano] where you have to accelerate from a slow speed, if you don’t ride in a special way like Fabio, you struggle a lot," Dovizioso said.

Fabio Quartararo, Emilia-Romagna MotoGP race, 24 October 2021
Fabio Quartararo, Emilia-Romagna MotoGP race, 24 October 2021
© Gold and Goose

"He brakes very late, but it's easy to brake late. It's difficult to brake late and turn the bike like him. And he's doing it easily. I mean, if you check his practice runs, he's doing 5-6 laps and not a lot of mistakes.

"He is able to use that way to ride, everywhere. It's not about if the track has grip, he can be fast; he was fast in every condition, every temperature and every track, riding in the same way.

"That also helped him to improve practice by practice and be able to start always in the first two rows, more-or-less. And be consistent in every situation."

Braking is also where Dovizioso is currently losing the most time to Quartararo.

"I'm not braking that good, but I have a different [spec] bike [to Quartararo]. In that part [braking] I think the [Factory] bike is different. But how much, I can't know," Dovizioso said.

"So, on braking I'm not that good and every time I enter the corners, I don’t have the right speed and I can't do the line I want. So I'm always a bit long [deep], and then I don’t carry the corner speed I need to use the best potential of the bike.

"Overall, when you are not that good on braking. you make a mistake in all the other areas. That's what happened for me in every lap during this race."

While Quartararo was celebrating Yamaha's first world championship since Jorge Lorenzo in 2015, with fourth place from 15th on the grid, Dovizioso finished a disappointed 13th.

Andrea Dovizioso, MotoGP race, Emilia-Romagna MotoGP 24 October 2021
Andrea Dovizioso, MotoGP race, Emilia-Romagna MotoGP 24 October 2021
© Gold and Goose

After impressing by closing the gap to +25s and being the next best Yamaha behind Quartararo in Texas, Dovizioso dropped back to the same +41s margin to victory as in last month's Petronas debut. While Dovizioso's finishing position improved from 21st and last at Misano 1, Misano 2 saw eight retirements.

"From the beginning I didn’t have the feeling and I wasn't fast, I was struggling and that's it," Dovizioso said. "I think it was another important experience because we used the same tyres [medium front, soft rear] as most other riders, different than Misano 1 [medium rear]. And in my opinion it was wrong. For two reasons:

"First because the tyre dropped a lot in the last 10 laps, but especially because in the way I ride I need support before the traction area and the soft didn't give it to me. So I wasn't fast in the beginning when the tyre had the maximum potential and then after it dropped.

"I felt bad, I wasn't smooth enough. I'm working and I'm fighting with the bike because I have to change the style, my lines, and to do five practices not in normal dry conditions and then start the race was very difficult. I didn't really have the speed in the beginning so I used the tyre and my energy in a bad way. I didn't drop about the energy but I wasn't smooth enough. So I'm not happy about that.

"I think the conditions didn’t help me to get the feeling. It wasn't worse than Misano 1, but I didn't make a step forward. Especially after Austin, where I was faster and closer.

"I'm not too happy about that but overall, fortunately, we are not fighting for the championship and also when you make these kind of weekends, you gain important experience. Especially for the Yamaha engineers, because the limit during the [damp] practice was quite clear."

Stepping from the Ducati, arguably the best wet weather bike, Dovizioso had been able to confirm the weakness of the Yamaha on a drying track - the only conditions where even Quartararo struggles to extract speed from the M1.

After finishing this season on the A Spec, Dovizioso will join Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli in having the latest Factory Spec Yamaha, for the newly-formed RNF team, in 2022.

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