Motor sport

Dovizioso’s secret to beating Marquez in MotoGP

“I knew I couldn’t fight a more aggressive driver so I had to avoid that situation and the only way to beat him was to create the other situation. Every time I made the cut-back, it It was a good move, but it wasn’t the crucial move, because it’s happened before.

“I was able to make the cut-back because I created a small gap under braking. I braked so late but I knew I could stop the bike and I knew Marc would 100% try to pass me and I knew that because of the situation I had created by braking so late that he wouldn’t couldn’t stop his bike. It was my approach.

“But it wasn’t easy to deal with because I had to wait and try to figure out if he was really there because I couldn’t see him so I didn’t have everything under control but I had to try.

“Those four wins happened because it’s almost impossible to brake past me, so if you try to brake past me you’ll go far and I’ll be ready to cut under you.”

The only time Dovizioso didn’t beat Márquez with a clearance was at the Red Bull Ring in 2019, when Márquez led into the final corner and Dovizioso went on the brakes. It was this victory that nearly gave Ducati team manager Davide Tardozzi a heart attack.

Red Bull Ring 2019, the only time Dovizioso won a last-corner duel with Márquez without the cutback. Note Márquez’s broken front brake guard flying above the pair

Ducati

By then, Dovizioso’s career was almost over. The arrival of Michelin’s softer, grippier 2020 slick undid the former 125cc World Champion who had transformed the Desmosedici by skidding through the corners and out of the way. The extra grip from the new rear didn’t allow Dovizioso to ride like that and he struggled to adapt.

Ducati did not re-sign him for 2021 and he looked set to retire, until a seat became vacant at RNF Yamaha in reaction to Maverick Viñales leaving the Japanese factory. Dovizioso returned to the grid at Misano in September aboard an RNF YZR-M1, not unlike the M1 he rode for Tech 3 Yamaha in 2012.

He struggled terribly in the M1, failing once to break into the top ten. The problem is a lack of grip, he says, which reigning Yamaha champion and current points leader Fabio Quartararo overcomes with his very special riding technique.

Dovizioso will contest his 348th and final Grand Prix at Misano next month. He will miss MotoGP, just as he missed those unforgettable Dovizioso/Márquez battles in recent seasons.