MotoGP

Dovizioso unhappy with “useless” Qatar MotoGP schedule

The 15-time MotoGP race winner makes his full-time return in 2022 having spent much of last year serving a sabbatical after losing his Ducati ride, only contesting the final five races for RNF in its previous guise as Petronas SRT.

The 2022 MotoGP season – the longest in history at 21 races – begins this weekend in Qatar under the floodlights, though will start earlier than normal at 6pm local time.

As a result, FP1 and FP3 will take place during daylight hours, while the rest of the running is at dusk – which will mean track conditions will be radically different.

On top of this, there was no pre-season testing at the Losail International Circuit this year, meaning useful track time for the riders will be limited come Sunday’s race.

“Also, this weekend is always a bit difficult because it’s the first round and the first round, there’s always big tension from everybody,” Dovizioso said in response to a question from Autosport on Thursday.

“But more than that, you’re not able to work during the weekend especially without a test.

“I don’t agree about the timing of the practice, but it’s something we already spoke about in the past, some riders pushed a lot to race as soon as possible [in Qatar] because of the humidity.

“But I think it’s a bit too early and you can’t really work during the weekend because practice one and three is useless.

“You just ride because you have to ride, not because you can work because the conditions are very different.”

Andrea Dovizioso, RNF MotoGP Racing

Photo by: MotoGP

Dovizioso made some gains in adapting to the Yamaha during winter testing – having last ridden an M1 in 2012 – but admitted after the Indonesia test that he still “doesn’t understand” the bike.

Having won the Qatar GP twice in the past, Dovizioso says “I don’t want to expect a lot” on his first race weekend on the factory-backed Yamaha give the uncertainties that still remain regarding adapting his riding style to the M1.

“I really don’t know, because the tests are always very strange,” he added.

“Even more [this year] because we did the test in Indonesia.

“So, my feeling improved a bit, especially on the braking, but I’m still not confident on the bike to say ‘I can do that, I can do this’.

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“So, the situation is not that clear to me. We are coming to a completely different track, I never rode the Yamaha here.

“I’m really happy to be here, but I don’t know if I can be really competitive.

“So, I don’t want to say anything and I don’t want to expect a lot because in my opinion I can be competitive, but how much and after what happened in the test it’s very difficult for me to know.

“So, I will approach the weekend in an open way, also because we don’t know the situation with the track and that will affect everybody.

“I’m really focused on what I have to be focused on, and after we will see our situation, our position.”


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