Andrea Dovizioso remains puzzled by the ‘strange’ penalty handed to Yamaha last weekend for breaking the MotoGP engine homologation rules.
Yamaha lost constructors’ points and Monster Yamaha/Petronas Yamaha teams’ points for the two events where they had used valves provided by a different supplier to those present in its sample 2020 MotoGP engine.
Yamaha said the valve change had occurred due to ‘an internal oversight and an incorrect understanding of the current regulation’.
However, no riders’ points were lost, meaning three Yamaha riders still have a slim mathematical chance of the title with two rounds remaining.
The decision to punish constructor and teams but not riders for a technical infringement remains a source of controversy, even if Yamaha’s chances of winning any world titles this season are fast diminishing.
“If [Yamaha] had done it in the correct way and declared it, then it wouldn’t have been an issue. But they didn’t… It’s a strange ruling. No doubt about that,” Jack Miller said last weekend.
Fellow Ducati rider Dovizioso also called it “strange”, adding he would like to understand more, including from Ducati, presumably about why they didn’t protest the decision.
But as of Friday practice for the second Valencia weekend, Dovizioso remains in the dark.
“I think that situation has been so strange. Very, very strange,” Dovizioso said.
“If it was illegal, everybody that makes something illegal takes a penalty. But I wasn’t in that meeting. I don’t know exactly all the things, where they are and what they said.
“I don’t know all the details so I don’t want to speak too much about that, but for sure it’s very strange.
“We really would like to understand a bit more details because if they did something illegal I don’t think it was normal what happened.”
Either way, Dovizioso is now the sixth and final rider still in with a mathematical chance of overhauling Suzuki’s Joan Mir with two rounds to go, but the Italian would need a miracle, sitting 45 points behind with only 50 remaining.
Nonetheless, after finishing eighth last weekend, his penultimate event as a Ducati rider began with a competitive sixth fastest lap time in Friday practice for the Valencia repeat.
“The reason why all the Ducatis are faster than last week? I don’t know. But the conditions are different,” Dovizioso said. “The track is very fast. There was no wind and the temp is not too high. So the situation was good to be fast. Looks like every Ducati is a bit faster.
“We worked on some details from what we saw in the race. I’m happy because I’m able to brake a bit harder to have better feeling on the front. We did a small change in the afternoon and it worked better and I was able to be consistent – not the fastest but consistent. That was very, very important.
“Unfortunately a lot of riders have a good pace. I believe we have to do two or three tenths a step forward to be in the front group and to be sure going into Q2 directly and starting on the first two rows will make the big difference.”
Dovizioso faces an uncertain future after electing not to sign a 2021 test deal in order to remain ‘free’ while working on a 2022 return, but admitted his struggles at many races this season means it’s been a long time since he enjoyed riding a MotoGP bike.
“When you are struggling with the bike, unfortunately [our enjoyment] is too related to the speed you have. This is the bad thing about us [riders],” he said.
“You can’t enjoy how lucky we are to be in this situation, to work with the factory team and ride these wonderful bikes. In the end if you are not fast you can’t enjoy -because everybody wants to win. This is normal. It’s not unusual.”
Dovizioso’s only win this season came in the first Austrian round, a few days after confirming he would leave Ducati.