Andrea Dovizioso unveiled his 2022 WithU RNF Yamaha on Monday evening but the Italian was reluctant to confirm plans past the coming year.
With his current squad running a singular one year contract with Yamaha, the veteran MotoGP rider is taking his career day by day.
“Has been a strange year, last year, and it will be a strange year this season, because I don't have any programme and this is the reality. Is not because I don't want to speak about that. I really live this season like the last season because I don't know what will happen. I don't know, everything is always related about the result for sure. So if the result will be very good is not a problem. If the result will be not that good, it is what it is, so I am really relaxed about that.
“I'm taking this season really like the last season not because this will change my approach, this is not something you can decide but I'm completely relaxed in this situation.
"I don't have a cut off [to decide] for next year but I don't want a contract in this moment for next year because I don't know in this moment what I would like to do. For sure everything is related about the result because if you are fast you enjoy. If you're not fast you don't enjoy, especially in my moment of career so that way I'm totally relaxed about that and we will see.
“I can't be happy to be the oldest on the grid,” he continued. “This is not positive but I'm happy. If I'm here with this age, this means I work in a right way in my career and the people who work with me in my career helped me a lot to constantly improve. This I can be proud of and I can't thank enough all the people who work with me.”
Despite a shortened returning season in 2021, Dovizioso has already experienced both the 2019 and 2021 Yamaha’s before switching his attention to the updated 22-spec M1 from next week’s Malaysia test.
“I compare in Jerez, the last test of last year, and the difference of the two bikes was quite big and I was happy about the feeling but still, I didn't have the bike from 2022 and the other two factory riders try different things to me.
“So next test in Malaysia and Indonesia, we will have I think something different but still I don't know. I'm not sure what we will have. It would be very important the two preseason tests because we have to decide the bike for the season. Is very important for me to use that five days in the best way to be a bit better about my adapting to the bike because still, for sure there is a margin and this is something I have to do, I want to do.
“The way you have to ride the Yamaha, in the moment is not natural for me but I think it's, not easy but is possible to adapt and use a bit of your style.
"I think I have to adapt more for sure because when you have something big about the DNA of the bike, you have to follow the characteristics of the bike but I think you have to keep a few things of your strength. So still I'm working on small details to try to mix these things.
“It's very important to adapt because the MotoGP of today - tyres, brakes, electronics, chassis - is quite clear what you have to do in every bike but every rider have a different talent, have a different experience and everybody has something special. So you have to keep and try to use your way to ride. You have to understand how much is the per cent of that.”
Recent years have seen tyre issues plague the Italian, most notably in his final year with the Ducati factory.
“The new casing that arrive in 2020 change the way you have to break especially and also with Yamaha is the same,” Dovizioso explained. “You have to use the balance of the two tyres in a different way. Still I think I can use that balance in a better way, still I don't feel comfortable, when I'm braking I don't feel I'm using the potential of the tyres and the bike. So I was improving a lot in the last two races of last season because I changed completely in the way I was braking compared to Ducati, because Yamaha requested different things and also helped me to adapt to the new casing that arrived in 2020.
“In MotoGP there is always a change because there is a big developing of everybody. Riders, bikes, everything, so this is MotoGP, every year is like that. So you're always surprised about something because this is normal, happens in MotoGP. So I'm not surprised to be surprised. The biggest change was more 2020. 2020 it was a strange season for many reasons. Championship, COVID, but I believe the biggest reason was the new casing of the rear tyre but maybe I'm wrong.”
RNF team manager Razlan Razali has openly said he expects the 35-year-old to be challenging for the title this season, Dovizioso however is more cautious in his expectations.
“I think it will be difficult because the level is so high and we don't know still, because we have to do the test, how will be the situation of our bike compared to the other bikes - because the rules now is open again for the engine, for everything, so everything can happen and nobody knows. So I don't want to say 'Yes'. I'm here to try to do that and I don't think I will have this year to use like a learning year,” he finished with a smile.