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Could Andrea Dovizioso Move to KTM Next Year?

By withdrawing from negotiations with Ducati, Andrea Dovizioso has left himself without a job next year. All of the MotoGP seats seem to be tied up, so will Dovizioso simply take a sabbatical? Retire permanently? We don’t think so.

Suddenly, KTM has one of the best bikes in the MotoGP paddock. After its first victory in the class from Brad Binder at Jerez, both Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira had the orange bike in podium contention before their crash at the Red Bull Ring last weekend. Could Dovizioso move to KTM next year?

The question was posed to the Tech3 KTM owner, Hervé Poncharal, who employed Dovizioso several years ago when his team ran Yamahas. Take a look at the interview with Poncharal, which basically concludes with the idea that KTM would love to have Dovizioso, but it has already committed to four riders next year, and doesn’t seem likely to break a contract with any of them in order to provide a seat to Dovizioso.

Perhaps more interesting was the topic of a test rider role for Dovizioso at KTM. If Dovizioso is suffering a mild case of burnout, maybe the role of test rider, rather than taking a year off, would be attractive to him. Conceivably, KTM could maximize wild card entries, so that Dovizioso could participate in a few races in addition to his testing responsibilities. As a three-time runner up to Marc Marquez (Honda) in the World championship, Dovizioso could provide great insights to further improve the KTM machine.

Of course, at this point, we expect Dovizioso to remain quiet on his future and focused on winning this year’s MotoGP title, where he currently sits second in the points.

29 Comments

  1. Gary says:

    How great would it be to see KTM win a MotoGP championship?

  2. Joe from Canada says:

    To me, Dovi doesn’t seem to have the ultimate drive to push it to the limit in order to beat MM. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great rider! As for the Ducati bike, true it’s been a beast for power but the handling still wasn’t anywhere near the other factories. Given that most of the other factories have caught up in power except for sadly Yamaha if he wins this year it will be something to see. Next year be damned!

    • Dave says:

      ??? Dovi is about the only rider who’s demonstrated the ability to beat MM head-to-head. He’s done is several times in his *15* MotoGP wins.

      • Stephen says:

        Most of Dovi’s wins came in the years when the Ducati had it’s biggest power differential to the Honda and tyres that worked well with it. Since then his relative performance has declined. It’s worth remembering that Dovi is one of the few who has had factory bikes on Honda, Yamaha and Ducati without taking a championship and really only looking close to it once, when everything was extremely favourable to him. He’s 98% of a champion but not the full version.
        KTM should back Binder and Olivera, they’re young enough to not have been mentally scarred by a dominant Marquez. Even then, with the loss of their concessions now I expect KTM to fall back to the field a bit. (After Misano where they also got extra testing)

        • Jeremy says:

          That is a valid point. When the Ducati had the power advantage, Dovi’s race strategy was always the same. Get to the front, control the pace, let everyone take huge risks on the brakes to try and get by, pass them on the straight.

          Once Honda got close to the Ducati in power, Dovi still came in second in the championship, but he was nowhere near Marquez in the points haul.

          Now in a world where KTMs and Suzuki’s can run with the Ducatis (and better) at a “Ducati track,” it’s about to get real.

        • Patrick says:

          Nonesence dovi wasint in factory bike yamaha .he proven his doubters wrong he out smarted mm at same track two years running .you buying into nonesence dukati team promote which blame rider not the machine .cassey stoner said what he thought and back his options over any arm chair expert .dovi got mental strength and belief to win the world championship .

    • dogdog says:

      So Dovi lacks passion and drive, but comes in second year against the phenom that is MM after year on a bike that doesn’t handle well…..I’m confused?

      • JVB says:

        Don’t forget his Honda time was including Stoner as a team mate. He had to fight for what was in his contract, and Honda had to field 3 riders when they added Stoner. Dovi seems to get zero respect. Second in the championship vs MM, who will be the GOAT if he returns OK from his injury. Not bad. Would love to see him jump to SBK and beat the Ducks as a “screw you”. That would be better than riding the Aprilia and being at the back.

  3. Pedro says:

    If he becomes a test rider, they will have a better test team than most teams on the track. Maybe a test team series is in the works.

    OTOH, it is entirely possible that Pol E spontaneously combusts in the near future. The hope is that his leathers hold, and clean up is straightforward.

    • Hot Dog says:

      PolE seems like he’s got hurt feelings all of the time. Whiney, pouty, “Why always me” attitude gets a little long in the tooth after awhile. A smile and a laugh goes a lot farther than tear and a sob.

  4. skortch says:

    There’s a good chance Dovi will win this weekend as he’s won three out of the last four races in Austria. If he does he may very well be leading the championship.

    If he wins MotoGP this year (on top of being the 2nd best rider for the past three years) it would be utterly bizarre for him not to be on the grid next year.

  5. Wendy says:

    Dovi is one of the great “what ifs” of the current MotoGP era. He has had to compete with MM,, a potential GOAT, and the rest of the crop aren’t slouches either. More than even Honda, Ducati is a it isn’t the machine, it is the rider judge of talent. Only Casey Stoner could tame the old Ducati, even VR couldn’t come to terms with it.

    Dovi may go to KTM, who knows? But MM will be back and still be inevitable. I doubt Dovi is Iron Man.

    • Dave says:

      You’re referring to the “New-old” Ducati. Stoner’s bike came before it and it was a genuinely competitive ride. It wasn’t like the bikes that were between it and the current Gp18, 19, 20.

      The bike VR, Crutchlow, and Hayden rider weren’t any measure of talent, they were simply uncompetitive. No rider in the world was going to win on it.

      The new bike is one of the two best (Yamaha being he other) in he field. If anything, it’s the Honda that’s become he judge of talent. MM has it and nobody else does.

  6. Provologna says:

    I really like Dovi, whom I perceive as so much more real and human than MM. I suspect the fact that MM holds the record for the all time youngest Champion, and his subsequent success may contribute to a perceived phoniness about him. This could obviously all be completely wrong; it’s just my perception.

    I’d be happy for Dovi if he wins this year for Ducati and next year for another team. It is it flat impossible for him to ride for Ducati in 2021?

    • VLJ says:

      It’s difficult not to like Dovi. He’s all class, he’s honest, and fairly glib. He also doesn’t seem to take any of this too seriously. He appears to have his head on straight. The overriding impression is he’s a very self-assured young man. The guy is clearly comfortable with who he is, and with his place in the world.

      Ducati is now forced to choose his successor, sooner than they would have preferred. They wanted to wait a little longer to see how this whole thing played out, but, as I mentioned, Dovi is a proud man, and he’d had enough. It wasn’t about money for him, it was about Ducati’s lack of respect for his efforts.

      Ducati screwed up, full stop. Their arrogance rubbed Dovi the wrong way, to such an extent that when asked if there was any chance of him returning to Ducati, Dovi emphatically shot down that idea. Usually he’s very noncommittal and circumspect in everything he states publicly. He knows how to play the factory-rider PR game. He holds his cards close to the vest.

      Not this time. Even after Dovi announced to the press that he’s leaving, Paolo Ciabatti publicly entertained the possibility of bringing him back, especially if Dovi wins the title, but Dovi did not hesitate to state for the record, right into the camera with a full, open grin, “No. There is no chance.”

      It’s personal to him now.

      • Provologna says:

        Brilliant insight; thank you. Everything you posted seems to only reinforce my opinion of Dovi. None or almost none of us ever meet these appropriately named “aliens,” but our perceptions of Dovi seem more than reasonable. IMO your most notable characterizations are “circumspect” and “doesn’t …take…this too seriously.” To maintain a human perspective of such a dangerous line of work tells us much about Dovi’s maturity.

      • Patrick says:

        Totally agree Ducati are noobs.
        Pure and simple david tardozti

        Through away chance be world superbike champ on warm up lap .
        Who does the that rookie mistake .
        I was there did it too lorzono as well good luck seem have no idea.
        And puig don’t get me started .guy should be gone .his hard nature .
        Omg man and hrc should said no to mm
        Getting back on the Honda Soo soon.
        Guy weak tryed say mm broke plate closing a window come in bs

  7. Jason says:

    There is a open seat on the Aprilia Team for the 2021 season.

  8. mickey says:

    I sincerely hope Dovi wins the championship this year, he deserves it IMO. Would hate to see him branded with the proverbial bridesmaid label many stuck on Pedrosa (another great rider who deserved to win a premier class WC.(again IMO)

    Does KTM need two world class test riders? Maybe. They seem to be almost there. Maybe Dovi’s input would put them over the top.

    Personally I wish Suzuki would field a satellite team with Dovi and Lorenzo. Can you imagine?

    • Delmartian says:

      As you know, Lorenzo retired from Honda in 2019 after being plagued with injuries (sadly) and ended the season in 19th place. Even though he’s been a test rider for Yamaha’s European team this year, I doubt he’d be interested in coming out of retirement, even to join a surging KTM team.

      • Jeremy says:

        There aren’t many people at all that believed Lorenzo wanted to retire… He just wanted off the Honda. If Yamaha, Suzuki, or Ducati offered him a bike with a decent paycheck, my bet is he’s all in.

    • bmbktmracer says:

      If one is to field a satellite team, better to do so with riders who haven’t retired. 🙂

      Also, me thinks the only people who deserve to win titles are the ones who win the titles. I think the only thing people “deserve” are opportunities; outcomes are much too fickle.

      • mickey says:

        Technically you are correct, the person that wins the WC deserves the title, but for not certain twists of fate, not entirely or even remotely their fault, their title chances were dashed who would have won otherwise, so I say they deserved to win one. Just wasn’t in the cards.

        People can be coerced out of retirement, with the right opportunities and financial incentives.

        • VLJ says:

          What undeserved twists of fate ever prevented Dovi from winning a title? I can see where Lorenzo could claim such a thing in 2013, or Doohan in 1992, or maybe even Rossi in 2015, but Dovi?

          I’m drawing a blank.

          As for Dani? Well, no. He was always beaten fair and square by, well, lessee here…Hayden, Stoner, Rossi, Rossi again, Lorenzo, Stoner again, Lorenzo again, Marquez, Marquez again, Lorenzo again, Marquez, Marquez, Marquez…yep, everyone who prevented him from winning a title. If anything, the opposite is more true, in that Dani was only ever in title contention because of things like Stoner’s mysterious mono condition, or nearly all of Dani’s main opponents either moving to non-competitive bikes and/or missing large portions of seasons.

          Now, back to Dovi, I think it’s safe to say that he really has not deserved a title. He’s recently been the Best of the Rest, but that’s it, and that’s largely due to the fact that his bike has long been so much freaking faster than those of his competitors. The guy wins at horsepower tracks, where his Ducati teammates also tend to run well, even the satellite riders.

          Does Dovi get the absolute most out of his machine? I don’t think so, and I know for certain that Gigi Dall’Igna and the Ducati head honchos don’t think so either. They feel that despite Ducati providing him with an overdog machine he doesn’t have enough competitive fire and unquenchable will-to-win (see: Marquez, Mark) to ever lead Ducati to a world title.

          Perhaps he may finally do so this year, what with Mark conveniently stepping out of the way, just as Stoner and Rossi did for Dani a decade ago. If the Yamahas keep having reliability issues that force them to run the engine equivalent of a 750 against the liter bikes of their competition, and if both Suzuki and KTM keep seeing their main riders crashing into each other or simply crashing out of leads, hey, it might just happen this year for Dovi.

          And wouldn’t that be the single most satisfying middle finger any rider ever gave his bosses, on his way out the door.

          • Provologna says:

            More good insight IMO, esp. Re. MM vs. Dovi. Regardless one’s opinion of MM, he absolutely seems more willing to risk life and limb at any moment to win the race, with a unique skill set to match the proverbial size of his sack.

          • Dave says:

            ‘Yamahas keep having reliability issues that force them to run the engine equivalent of a 750 against the liter bikes of their competition’

            C’mon now.. That’s a pretty big exaggeration. They’ve been pulling 300rpm off the top. The bikes have been more than competitive (while running..). They even withdrew their request to open the engines.

          • Jeremy says:

            Yamaha withdrew the request after they were asked to provide technical drawings of the valve train to detail the supposed safety issue behind the request.

            In other words, bull shite has been called on the “safety” problem.

          • VLJ says:

            Dave, obviously I’m exaggerating, but I’m sure you’ve witnessed the Yamahas simply getting annihilated on the straights and coming out of corners for years now, as we all have. Rossi’s bike is twelve kph down on Miller’s Ducati here in Austria, and this isn’t even the fastest track with the longest straights.

          • Patrick says:

            Oh my must be amazing be you .
            And I assume your been there done
            That hmmmm .