DUCATI DISASTER Ducati team bosses join Dovizioso in slamming Iannone after last-corner moment of madness
Factory Ducati rider Andrea Iannone lived up to the ‘maniac’ nickname he has emblazoned across the back of his leathers when a moment of madness saw him wipe out team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in the very last corner of Sunday’s Argentinian Motogp race.
It was a move that cost Ducati dearly and could have a serious impact on the young Italian’s imminent contract negotiations. With Jorge Lorenzo strongly linked to a switch to Ducati next season (see page 74), current riders Iannone and Dovizioso could well both be fighting for just one seat in the squad.
For Dovizioso, Iannone’s move was unacceptable. On course for second position in the race Dovi would have been second in the championship standings, just one point behind new leader Marc Marquez, and the usually mild-mannered Italian was quick to hit out.
“I didn’t know if it was Valentino or Iannone behind me, but when I felt the touch I immediately knew it was Iannone. As I was sliding along, I realised that I’d expected something like that to happen. We’ve worked hard over the past two years, and we created a really good bike together – so to lose the points like this is unacceptable.”
Dovizioso wasn’t the only one within the team to pour criticism on Iannone, with Ducati Corse team principal Paolo Ciabatti going on the record to speak of how frustrated he was to lose the opportunity for one of the firm’s best weekends in years, following Chaz Davies’ WSB domination at Aragon on the Panigale.
“When you are close to having both riders on the podium after such an eventful weekend, you are tasting the champagne and then it’s a big disappointment – all because one of the two riders involuntarily makes a mistake.
“There are 16 races to go and they are Ducati riders. Trying to pass your team-mate is fine, but you shouldn’t take too many risks in the last corner to get one position.”
Ciabatti is a vastly experienced member of Ducati’s management and knows full well the pressure each rider is under. The speculation over Lorenzo joining the team no doubt raised the stakes even higher, but ultimately he believes that for both riders, who share the same goal to win, the pressure is coming from within.
“I think they would have done it anyway – they are team-mates on competitive bikes! Iannone has never won a Motogp race, and Dovi won in Donington in special conditions, so for them getting a win is their target. They know they have a competitive bike and they have a chance to achieve that result.”
After being wiped out, Dovi picked his bike up out of the gravel and pushed it across the finish line to secure 13th place and score three valuable points which means he holds fifth in the standings. Despite the setback, Dovi was still able to see the positives – positives that will no doubt be worrying for their Japanese rivals.
“I was able to catch Valentino and beat him! And we had the ability to finish second in the race. Those are the positives and thankfully now we get another race very soon at a very nice track, where we can prove our speed under different conditions.”
In addition to feeling the wrath of his team, Iannone became the first Motogp rider to be penalised under Motogps new disciplinary procedure. He will start next weekend’s Austin race with a three-place grid penalty.
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