LET IT RAIN
If popularity could decide race wins then Dovizioso would have racked up quite a lot more than two in the premier class – or maybe he’d have none (they’d all be Rossi’s). Either way, the likeable Ducati pilot could only boast a conspicuously shy single wi
Andrea Dovizioso has taken a stunning race victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix to become Motogp’s record-breaking ninth winner of the 2016 season – as well as taking only his second win during nine years in the premier class.
The Italian didn’t just win Sunday’s race – he dominated the entire weekend, taking the pole position, fastest lap and race win en route to Ducati’s second win of the season. It’s the first time since 2007 that Ducati have won two races in a season, when Loris Capirossi and Casey Stoner took the honours.
Appearing to be in control all race, even when fellow Italians Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone were dicing for the lead, Dovizioso was able to bide his time, making sure he had the tyres left at the end to push for his first win since a similarly wet victory at Donington Park in 2009.
“It was very difficult. From the outside, it looks like I was controlling the race,” explained Dovi. “But that wasn’t the reality! The first half of the race was very fast, but I didn’t give up and I didn’t make a mistake. That’s what gave me the opportunity to win at the end.
“I’m happy about my bike in the conditions, too, because I was able to keep the same speed from the beginning to the end. The race and the qualifying went perfectly. It’s a really nice feeling, and important to get these results at a track that’s always been one of my favourites, but that I’ve never won at.”
The win comes as a welcome turning point for the Italian, after a season that has sent him more than his fair share of challenges. Taking a strong second place at the first round in Qatar, it all went downhill from there, when first his team-mate and then Dani Pedrosa knocked him from consecutive races – and potential podium finishes.
“For sure, in the second, third and fourth races I had really bad luck,” said Dovi. “I had three zeros, and none of them were my fault. That’s a lot of points gone, and I was able to make two podiums from three races there. It would have changed my whole championship. I started with a really great race in Qatar, and then stayed on 20 points for too long.”
But while the 30-year-old may have timed his win to perfection as he charges towards a new season on the Ducati GP17, he was quick to put the ball firmly in the team’s court for next season as he seeks to go even faster.
“While a victory for Ducati and me is good, it’s not enough,” he added. “We want to fight for the championship, and we don’t have enough, but we’re very close. Four years ago, it was very bad, and now we’re in a completely different situation. That’s why I can say I’m happy about the improvement from Ducati this year, but we still need a little more to be able to fight for it. We can speak about fighting for the podiums in many races, and I’m proud of that.”
Dovi took Ducati’s second GP victory of the year – that’s not happened since 2007
Dovi waited before making a move on Rossi Bringing it home safely netted crucial 25 points