Mo­toGP leader Dovizioso eyes home boost

Ital­ian rider nine ahead of cham­pion Mar­quez

Bangkok Post - - SPORTS -

>> MISANO ADRIATICO: New Mo­toGP cham­pi­onship leader An­drea Dovizioso heads into this week­end’s San Marino Grand Prix with a slen­der nine-point ad­van­tage to de­fend over reign­ing world cham­pion Marc Mar­quez.

The Ital­ian, who over­took Mar­quez at the top of the rid­ers’ stand­ings last time out with vic­tory at Sil­ver­stone, is a na­tive of For­limpopoli, a town just 65km from the Misano cir­cuit in Ri­mini.

The Du­cati man will be look­ing to make good use of home com­forts, es­pe­cially with his leg­endary com­pa­triot Valentino Rossi miss­ing af­ter break­ing his leg in train­ing.

“Com­ing to Misano as leader of the cham­pi­onship is fan­tas­tic, even though I’m re­ally sorry that Rossi will not be there, as it would have been great to also bat­tle against him,” Dovizioso said.

“In the past the Misano cir­cuit hasn’t been too favourable for Du­cati, but a cou­ple of weeks back we did a very pos­i­tive test at this cir­cuit and we are on good form, so we’ll be try­ing to take home the best pos­si­ble re­sult.”

The 31-year-old was los­ing ground in the ti­tle race a month ago, when he was 21 points adrift of Mar­quez af­ter the Spa­niard’s back-to-back wins in Ger­many and the Czech Repub­lic.

But Dovizioso has hit back with suc­ces­sive vic­to­ries of his own, al­though has five rid­ers within 35 points of him in a close cham­pi­onship.

Rossi, 38, now l ooks un­likely though to claim a record 10th world ti­tle this year af­ter his in­jury, and Mav­er­ick Vi­nales will be Yamaha’s sole rider to­mor­row in his ab­sence.

“It’s a big pity that I can’t be at my home GP,” Rossi la­mented.

“For sure, I was re­ally look­ing for­ward to the round in Misano, be­cause rid­ing in front of the fans there is some­thing very spe­cial, but I have to treat the in­jury with care.”

Mar­quez has won four times in to­tal at this race, which is called the San Marino Grand Prix be­cause of its prox­im­ity to the coun­try and the fact that there is al­ready an Ital­ian race at Mugello.

But only one of those Mar­quez wins has come in the top class, and the Honda rider knows he needs to find his best form af­ter be­ing forced to quit in Bri­tain with en­gine fail­ure.

“We’ll try and have a great week­end in Misano, putting the last race be­hind us,” said the three-time Mo­toGP world cham­pion.

“The im­por­tant thing is that lately we’ve been com­pet­i­tive at all kinds of tracks, so now we go to Misano, which has a twisty, tight lay­out, with the same ap­proach and men­tal­ity that have worked very well for us so far.”

Mar­quez’s Honda team­mate Dani Pe­drosa won in Misano last year and sits fifth in the stand­ings, al­though he hasn’t won since edg­ing out Mar­quez on home soil at Jerez de la Fron­tera back in May.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to the Misano race and it’s a track I like,” he said. “I have good mem­o­ries there and I’ve en­joyed some strong re­sults, so I hope to be able to work well in ev­ery ses­sion.”

Vi­nales still has cham­pi­onship hopes of his own and is only 13 points be­hind Dovizioso and four adrift of sec­ond-placed Mar­quez.

Du­cati’s An­drea Dovizioso on his way to win­ning the Bri­tish Grand Prix at Sil­ver­stone.

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