The 2019 MotoGP season was a classic case of glass half-empty or half-full for Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati.

Or, in the words of the Italian, it was a 'strange' championship.

On the one hand, Dovizioso set a new personal high of 269 points (over 19 rounds) to finish title runner-up for the third year in succession, by a safe 58-point margin.

On the other hand, Dovizioso was left a massive 151 points behind a record points haul by Honda's world champion Marc Marquez, while two race wins was Dovi's lowest tally since 2016.

"The goal was to fight for and win the championship. And we didn’t. We can’t be happy about that," said Dovizioso. "And we can’t be too happy about still there are some points where we have to improve a bit more than what we did.

"But we also have to be realistic because this season the mix of Honda and Marc did something crazy. They scored a record number of points and they won all the titles."

The factory Ducati team was also pipped to the consolation of winning the teams' title, again by Marquez, at the Valencia finale.

"I’m disappointed about [losing the teams' championship] because I did an interview at the beginning of the season where I said Danilo and me would be the strongest [rider pairing]," Dovizioso said.

"Unfortunately, Marc did everything alone. He was too strong for everybody. On his bad day he finished second and by just a few tenths.

"But if you look at the championship it was strange.

"Marc scored the record points. I did my record. And after me, there is almost 60 points to third. So this means we worked in a pretty good way."

Dovizioso also fell the least number times of any full-time rider this season, with just four accidents during the 19-race weekends.

Two of those were during races, but on both occasions Dovizioso was caught up in another rider's accident, being brought down by Jorge Lorenzo in Catalunya and Fabio Quartararo at Silverstone.

"I had two zeroes and it wasn’t our fault. This is a big point," he said.

"I think we have to be happy about what we did because the level is so high behind me. I’m a bit surprised. There are a lot of champions with a lot of good bikes.

"I think we managed the season in a good way. It depends which way you want to see it.

"For sure it’s not enough because we want to fight for the championship. In this moment we have to look at what we can do to beat Marc. It’s very difficult, but it’s not impossible.

"This season Marc did something crazy and I think no one expected that. It can go in a different way [next year]. Every championship has a different story. You have to have this mentality. You have to be optimistic.

"We have to continue working really hard. The effort of Ducati, the engineers, my crew and me… We are pushing a lot."

The stand-out moment of Dovizioso's 2019 campaign was surely a dramatic last-corner pass on Marquez to snatch victory in Austria.

That was one of nine podiums for Dovizioso this season, matching last year's personal record. Team-mate Danilo Petrucci also made three rostrum appearances, including one victory, while Pramac's Jack Miller sprayed champagne on five occasions.

"On one side, it's been a positive season," summed-up Ducati Corse sporting director Paolo Ciabatti. "Including Jack, we achieved the highest number of podiums by Ducati ever since 2007, when we won the championship with Casey. So the GP19 has shown a high level of competitiveness."

However, after fighting Marquez until the final round in 2017, then losing out with three races to go in 2018, this year's championship battle ended with four races still to go.

"It's true that Marquez won the championship a few races before the end, so obviously we cannot be totally happy," Ciabatti said.

"Last year we won seven races, the year before six and this year we only won three. So something is missing there… but all-in-all the season has been positive, even if we are not completely satisfied."

Looking ahead to 2020, "for the first time we will have four riders on the [latest] bike, not only the factory team but also Pramac Racing. So Miller and Bagnaia will be on equal bikes to Dovizioso and Petrucci."

The new machine will aim to protect Ducati's top speed advantage after big progress by Honda this season, while also making long-awaited progress in turning ability.

"[In the past] we had an advantage in some points, especially top speed, and we could see that Honda closed the gap. So we need to keep working," Ciabatti said. "We have some areas that need more improvements than others and if we can improve the turning a little more that would be very welcome."

The 2020 MotoGP pre-season tests will both take place in February, at Sepang and then Qatar.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...