Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso summed up his state of mind as ‘desperate’ on the last lap of today’s Mugello MotoGP in which he took his first dry-weather premier class victory and became the first Italian to win on a Bologna bullet at the Tuscan track.
Dovizioso got off his sickbed to take to the grid after missing morning warm-up and adopted a fast but smooth style to take an historic victory which even turned the yellow crowd into ‘Dovi’ chanting Ducatist while Lorenzo stood under the podium while he celebrated.
We sat down with Dovizioso after the race:
Can you describe to us your emotions on the last lap?
“I was desperate! At the beginning of the last lap I had only eight-tenths of gap on Maverick and it’s a margin that you can close. I didn’t know if Maverick was at the limit or not. I was desperate, but I couldn’t risk too much with the front. The doubt was to take the risk and push, but I could finish in the gravel on the last lap or I pushed with a margin but within the limit.
“I did a good lap (1’47.8) but he didn’t do the record lap. Till the last braking, I didn’t know how close he was. When I succeed to enter the last corner in front, I started to celebrate. Winning at Mugello is the dream of every Italian rider. I have never won at Mugello and winning in MotoGP with a Ducati was fantastic.”
What was the secret today?
“Riding aggressively but smoothly. I was repeating this mantra to me from Friday morning and it worked. I’m happy because in the race I could ride fast but smoothly. This allowed me to stay behind Vinales, study him and finally passed him, but without a strategy. It was a flow.”
First Italian rider to win at Mugello on an Italian bike. Three Italian winners in the three classes…
“Yes, what a strange day. Maybe the strangest thing is the win! When a rider wins at Mugello, he cries. We saw Migno and Pasini today. It is a special venue for an Italian rider and I also cried. I had been on the podium here with Honda, but winning with Ducati is incredible.
“Honestly I didn’t know what to expect this morning considered that I woke up at 4am and I was sick. I had food poisoning and was very weak. I didn’t do the warm up to save the energy. Fortunately we had already a good setup and it paid off.”
You said you had no strategy, maybe you should ride following just the instinct?
“In many other races it paid well to have a strategy, but I didn’t do it today. Every race weekend is a different story. Today the bike worked really well and we could play with the positive points of our machine.”
Do you think this is a turning point of the season?
“I am realistic. At the moment the situation changes a lot from circuit to circuit so we have to keep on working as hard as usual to improve the base to be competitive on every circuit. It is not useful if we win in a race and then we take 20 seconds the following round. In this moment we cannot fight for the championship. We have to remain realistic and keep on working.”
How important is this victory?
“Everything works but we didn’t revolutionize the bike today.”
You were celebrated by the Valentino fans and many different teams. How does this make you feel?
“This happens if you like to the people. To see this support is incredible”.
To whom you dedicate this victory?
“It was very emotional moment. I enjoyed every moment. I want to dedicate this victory to Nicky. He was a great person and I was lucky to have him as team-mate.”
Now you are the first Ducati rider and second in the championship…
“Being second in the championship is great. The championship is still long and we need to focus to improve the base.”
Were you surprised to see Jorge Lorenzo under the podium?
“I didn’t see him, but I was told afterwards. I was pleased. This shows that there is respect and reflects the atmosphere in the garage.”