domingo, 4 de junio de 2017

Andrea Dovizioso Gets a Tremendous Victory for Ducati in the Italian MotoGP Grand Prix 2017 at Mugello

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) at full throttle on the Mugello Circuit where he has achieved the victory in the Italian MotoGP Grand Prix, his third triumph in the competition hitherto and the most important ever throughout his path as a rider. © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

Today June 4, 2017 the Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso has won the Italian MotoGP Grand Prix at the Mugello Circuit, in which has probably been the best race in his professional career, after a fierce battle with Maverick Viñales, Danilo Petrucci and Valentino Rossi.

Cover of the German specialized magazine Motor Sport Aktuell of June 8, 2017 with the image of Andrea Dovizioso cornering during his great race in the Italian MotoGP Grand Prix at Mugello, where he clinched a historical and very important victory with a great strategy as a rider and drawing the full potential of his Ducati Desmosedici GP17, the fastest MotoGP bike on earth. The title says: " Ducati Brings Home Victory ". © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

This has been a great day for Ducati, whose two Desmosedici GP17 bikes ridden by Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) and Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) have literally flown on the tarmac of the Tuscan Circuit, forcing Maverick Viñales to make a strenous effort until being able to overtake a very courageous Danilo Petrucci, though he couldn´t finally reach a very brilliant Andrea Dovizioso, who crossed the finishing line in first position and is now second in the MotoGP World Championship Standing with 79 points, behind Maverick Viñales with 105 points.

Pages 30 and 31 of the Motor Sport Aktuell magazine of June 8, 2017 with an illustrated in-depth article elaborating on the great significance of Andrea Dovizioso´s victory in the Italian MotoGP Grand Prix and Mugello, the very sweet moment which is being lived by the Borgo Panigale firm and the beginning of coming to fruition of Claudio Domenicalli (Ducati CEO) to take Ducati Corse again to the path of triumph and the fulfillment of a dream come true: winning the MotoGP World Championship again, as happened in 2007. © Jose Manuel Serrano Esparza

Moreover, there have been two Ducatis ( Dovizioso and Petrucci´s Desmosedici GP17 bikes among the first three riders in the podium), without forgeting the commendable fifth position achieved by Álvaro Bautista (Aspar Team, with a Ducati Desmosedici GP16).

                                                                                              © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

It has been a frantic race from beginning to end, which started with Valentino Rossi (who took the lead during the first lap) and Jorge Lorenzo being very fast from the strat line and engaging in a great duel reaching its climax in the right bend of San Donato, the left bend of Luco and the right bend of Scarperia.

But in the lap 4, hostilities broke out, with Maverick Viñales attacking Valentino Rossi like a whirlwind until overtaking him in the right bend of Scarperia, so the pilot from Gerona (leader of the MotoGP World Championship) became race leader, while Jorge Lorenzo was steadily losing its pace and Andrea Dovizioso got into the fight for the race command, taking over Valentino Rossi in the lap 6 and striving upon reaching Maverick Viñales, in such a way that at mid contest only two tenths of a second separated him from the Yamaha pilot.

Maverick Viñales tried to go away alone through sheer speed, but he couldn´t, since Andrea Dovizioso held on to each meter, doing his best to be as fast as possible on cornering and above all to make the most of the formidable acceleration and top speed of the desmodromic engine of his Ducati Desmosedici GP17 ( which has been the fruit of three years evolution and intensive work by the Ducati Corse Team directed by the genius Gigi Dall´Igna since the birth of the Ducati Desmosedici GP15) running like a shot in the straight stretches, clearly beating the Yamahas and Hondas in this regard, thanks to the impressive performance at very high rpm of its powerplant.

And that´s how Andrea Dovizioso masterly chose the best moment to launch his onslaught on Maverick Viñales at the beginning of lap 14, in the long straight stretch of 1 km and 142 meters (between Bucine and San Donato) where the huge desmodromic driven valves of the Ducati Desmosedici GP17 engine worked apiece, turning the bike into a real missile which overtook Maverick Viñales Yamaha YZR-M1 with massive power and speed, so the Forli rider could get the first position which he managed to keep at San Donato.

But there were more pitched battles.

Danilo Petrucci (Otto Pramac Racing) came very strong from behind with his Ducati Desmosedici GP17 and after launching his attack on Valentino Rossi, overtaking him in the left curve of Bucine, ran full-blast and was progressively shortening the distance with Maverick Viñales, overtaking him in lap 15, likewise in Bucine.

On his turn, Andrea Dovizioso was also going at full throttle, once and again increasing his advantages in the straight stretches of Mugello Circuit, where the awesome acceleration power and top speed of his Borgo Panigale DNA bike brought about a collective elation in the Ducati Grandstands at Correntaio Bend.

Maveric Viñales (currently the pilot in best condition of the MotoGP World Championship) grasped clearly the danger and read accurately the race circumstances: he needed to overtake Danilo Petrucci and being at least runner-up, because if the Terni rider achieved the second position on the box, he would lose some very valuable points in the General Standing.

With only four weeks to go, Dovizioso had an advantage of more than one second over Petrucci and Viñales, so the latter launched his attack on the Octo Prama Racing Team, managing to get past him following a raging struggle and unsuccesfully endeavouring to catch Andrea Dovizioso, who crossed the finishing line in firt position, with an advantage of 1.281 s on Maverick Viñales and 2.334 on Danilo Petrucci.

                                                                              © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

Gigi Dall´Igna, Chief Engineer of Ducati Corse and one of the greatest authorities in the world regarding the design, construction and development of engines for competition motorbikes.

Hired by Claudio Domenicalli and Paolo Ciabatti as new General Manager of Ducati Corse in November of 2013, he is the man who after a draught of almost six years before his arrival, has managed to take the Borgo Panigale firm once more to the victory path, after creating a new breed of Ducati bikes for MotoGP (which started with the Ducati Desmosedici GP15 in 2015) featuring a state-of-the art desmodromic engine boasting 1000 cc, 290 HP and a top speed of around 365 km/h, whose most evolved embodiment is the present Ducati Desmosedici GP17, to such an extent that between 2016 and 2017 Ducati has won hitherto three races of the MotoGP World Championship:

- The Austrian MotoGP Grand Prix 2016 at the Red Bull Ring of Spielberg Circuit (Andrea Iannone 1º, Andrea Dovizioso 2º and Jorge Lorenzo 3º).

- The Malaysan MotoGP Grand Prix 2016 at the Sepang Circuit (Andrea Dovizioso 1º, Valentino Rossi 2º and Jorge Lorenzo 3º).

- The Italian MotoGP Grand Prix 2017 at the Mugello Circuit (Andrea Dovizioso 1º, Maverick Viñales 2º and Danilo Petrucci 3º).

Notwithstanding, both Andrea Dovizioso and Gigi Dall´Igna were cautious after the great victory, stating that it´s a very important achievement but by no means they should be triumphalist, since every race and circuit is different, though the morale boost unleashed during this Italian MotoGP Gran Prix in Mugello provides them with high spirits to keep on increasingly improving their MotoGP bikes.

In this regard, Gigi Dall´Igna´ s attitude just after the end of the race was praiseworthy, because he went quickly to talk to Jorge Lorenzo (who although fought for the leadership throughout the first laps, was progressively losing pace and finished in an eigth position of sorts) to cheer him on.

Dall´Igna utterly trusts him, grasps that he needs time to adapt to the features of his Ducati Desmosedici GP17 (a machine boasting astounding power, acceleration ability and top speed, whose riding technique is very different to the Yamaha YZR-M1 with which he has been competing during last seasons) and he´s making a huge effort to steadily upgrade the bike until it sports the most suitable traits to the riding style of the Majorcan pilot.

                                                                                                   © José Manuel Serrano Esparza

But Andrea Dovizioso has more than proven to be among the best riders of the competition, is now 31 years old, has built a huge experience and is at his professional career prime. 

He has already won two MotoGP races with Ducati and it´s apparent that he will be struggling for the victory in a number of races, something highly laudable, because at the beginning of the season few people believed he could be among the first three positions in the MotoGP World Championship or in the fight to be World Champion, a chance for which he´s already proved his mettle.

But the most important thing as to the deeds acomplished by Andrea Dovizioso is being his frame of mind.

DesmoDovi is one of the Ducati riders who has fully taken part from scratch in Claudio Domenicalli´s great project to make the Borgo Panigale firm return to top of the MotoGP World Championship, which it hasn´t won since 2007 (when Casey Stoner became world champion beating the japanese motorcycles once and again with his legendary 800 c.c Ducati Desmosedici GP7 prepared by Philippo Preziosi) and along with Michele Pirro and Casey Stoner he has made a myriad of tests with the Desmosedici GP15, GP16 and GP17 for a span of three years. 
                                                                         © Ducati Corse

Andrea Dovizioso is fully aware that on being 2017 the first year of Jorge Lorenzo in Ducati, he will need time to adapt to the bike, so the Italian rider is carrying the team on his back in these exceedingly delicate moments and is fighting tooth and nail to win races, because he does know the significance and future relevance of what is happening for the Borgo Panigale firm.

Recently, Claudio Domenicalli made utterances in which he asserted that any position under 3rd at the end of any race of the MotoGP World Championship 2017 is not good for Ducati, and obviously he is right.

Ducati is along with Harley-Davidson the most prestigious motorcycle firm in the History of Motorcycling, as well as being the unquestionable queen of the SBK World Championship, having won nothing less than 14 titles hitherto, but it needs to greatly raise its performance in the MotoGP World Championship and have real chances to win the title in 2017 and 2018, something entailing extreme difficulty, since Ducati´s economical and all kind of resources potential (with sales of roughly 90,000 bikes a year) is very inferior to Honda (20 million bikes a year) or Yamaha (14 million bikes a year) to name only two examples.

But evidence suggests that perhaps Gigi Dall´Igna is on the brink of striking the right note in four different configurations of Ducati MotoGP bikes:

- Andrea Dovizioso´s Desmosedici GP17 ( whose tuning-up substantially bears in mind the way in which the rider from Forli usually brakes).

- Jorge Lorenzo´s Desmosedici GP17 (more conceived as a machine enabling him to keep a very high and constatnt competition pace from beginning to end of races, though the Majorcan rider is finding hard to adapt to the bike, but sooner or later, through sheer strenuous effort and his exceptional qualities as a pilot, Lorenzo will be there, fighting for the head positions — he already got a third one at the Jerez MotoGP Grand Prix — .

- Danilo Petrucci´s Desmosedici GP17 (whose tune-up resembles Dovizioso´s one regarding the way he brakes). The Octo Pramac Racing rider features a remarkably aggressive and combative style, using his utmost endeavors for each track meter, and his third position in Mugello has been very important both for him and Ducati, who has heartily bet on the satellite teams for three years.

- Álvaro Bautista´s Desmosedici GP16 (Aspar Ducati Team). The headway of the rider from Talavera de la Reina is being spectacular, because after two years (2015 and 2016) with an evolution stage Aprilia which didn´t match his great talent, his arrival at Ducati meant a turning point, since his Desmosedici GP16 — tuned up for his spdcial style of riding with the powerplant — boasts a much more powerful and docile engine than the one featured by his previous Aprilia, and enables him to go out of the corners with far superior acceleration. His 2017 preseason was excellent and this fifth position in Mugello confirms his upward progress, and Gigi Dall´Igna amazing insight, knowledge and experience in races domain, because it was him who talked to the rider from Talavera de la Reina and convinced him to become a Ducati pilot.

Not in vain, Gigi Dall´Igna is a full-fledged scientist of the exceedingly comprehensive range of data provided by each Ducati MotoGP bike during races.

The Chief Engineer and General Manager of Ducati painstakingly studies those figures and references throughout many hours, and it enables him along with another vast assortment of factors to once and again improve the performance and personalized configurations of the bikes for each rider, in symbiosis with the telemetry engineers, because it´s necessary to be able to find a hugely difficult balance between the massive power, acceleration and top speed of the desmodromic engine of the Ducati Desmosedici GP17 and GP16 and their output on cornering — in this respect, the MotoGP Ducatis have more difficulties than Japanese bikes during turns in mid curves — , because the tremendous talent displayed in them by Maverick Viñales, Marc Márquez and Valentino Rossi (who keep on being the greatest challengers to win the title) often allow them to reduce inside them the advantages gained by Ducati bikes on the straight stretches.

This context can benefit Ducati in the medium and long term, since it doesn´t consider itself as a favourite to win the MotoGP World Championship — though it is going to try to get it with all its strength — and has opted for good sense, fight to the utmost race by race, a steadfast work until exhaustion to constantly revamp the performance of its engines and to reduce as much as possible the differences regarding capabilities on cornering in which Yamahas and Hondas are ahead of the legendary Italian firm.

Until now, only a third of the MotoGP World Championship has been disputed, and this year it seems to be more open than ever: Maverick Viñales goes on being the great favourite, but there are five more riders who highly probably are going to be in the fight for the title: Valentino Rossi, Marc Márquez, Andrea Dovizioso, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.

There are many races to be run and everything is at stake: sooner or later the clash between Maverick Viñales (current greatest challenger to the title) and Marc Márquez (usually a challenger to the title and a consummate expert on cornering with an incredible degree of slanting of his body and bike with respect to the ground); Valentino Rossi — in spite of the drawback of being 38 years old — will set his sights on managing his chances as best as possible, making the most of  his huge experience of 17 years in MotoGP; Andrea Dovizioso ranks now in second position of the MotoGP World Championship 2017 Standing, is very self-confident, utterly adapted to his Ducati Desmosedici GP17 and with much less stressful conditions on the court than when he had Andrea Iannone (capable of the best and the worst) as a teammate; it is expected that Jorge Lorenzo improve positions while getting the knack of riding his bike; and neither should we forget Dani Pedrosa (who is in very good condition with Sete Gibernau as a new coach and recently won the Spanish MotoGP Grand Prix 2017 in Jerez) and the Britsh lion Cal Crutchlow (already winner of two MotoGP races in 2016, the Czech Republic Gran Prix in Brno and the Australian Grand Prix in Phillip Island) who could have chances of getting victories in some races from now on.

Text and Indicated Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza