Simone Battistella, manager of Dovizioso has confirmed that Dovizioso would be fit to test and ride for Honda if the call was made.
At the end of the 2020 season Andrea Dovizioso ended an 8-year-old relationship with Ducati, it was a toxic and turbulent relationship which forced Dovizioso to leave without a plan B, this eventually meant he has been forced to sit out of the 2021 MotoGP season without a ride eyeing up a return for 2022 if the right offer is made.
As we all know, Marc Marquez was forced to sit out of nearly the entire 2020 MotoGP season after breaking his right humerus during a crash in the season opener at Jerez, this meant that Honda had to run test rider Stefan Bradl for the entirety of the season and for the first time in decades they finished the season without a single win.
Therefore with Dovizioso out of a contract and Marc Marquez still injured, there are many rumours of Dovizioso making a MotoGP return with Repsol Honda, a team he rode for in 2009, 2010 and 2011 with 15 podiums and 1 win to his name in the iconic colours. Initially, these rumours were passed off with various people close to Dovizioso saying he had no interest in riding in MotoGP to keep Marquez’s seat warm, however, it seems things have changed quite recently.
Dovizioso’s manager Simone Battistella recently spoke to Sky Sports IT about this possibility and opened the rumour floodgates once again. When asked if they had received a call from Honda he said, “Not yet, but [if the call from Honda comes] Andrea is really ready. He is training for motocross at an amateur level but he is doing it with such intensity as if he were in full pre-season MotoGP.
We will work this year to fully return to 2022. As for Honda, both Andrea and I are very sorry about what is happening to Marc [Marquez], it is clear that they are evaluating exactly when their rider can return. In my opinion, rightly, they are afraid of making mistakes in such a delicate situation. Next month will be crucial for their decisions. For our part, we have rejected all the proposals from test riders to be free to do something else but also to be ready to return to the starting grid.”
Rossi vs Dovizioso, 2011
When asked about if they would be open to the idea of at least testing for Honda it was a clear ‘yes’ with Battistella saying, “I would say yes. We are talking about a winning bike and a rider who has always been very strong in Qatar; the combination would intrigue fans”. Intrigued we would be, we all know the situation with Dovizioso and Ducati, therefore if you put him on a bike as competitive as the Honda Dovizioso really could make a good impact.
There is one unfortunate twist to the tale, Marc Marquez will return at some point which will force Dovizioso to hand back over the RC213V, even if Dovizioso is leading the championship by 50 points after 6 rounds, after all it’s not his ride and he would be riding in place of a rider. With Carmelo Ezpeleta already confirming he would not allow Honda to run 3 bikes for Espargaro, Marquez and Dovizioso, it is unlikely we will see Dovizioso start the season, Simone confirmed this saying, “Honestly, I don’t expect Honda to let Dovi start the world championship and then stop him midway through or towards the end of the season.
“The hypothesis of starting alongside Pol Espargaro and then adding a third bike when Marquez returns is not feasible, also because Carmelo Ezpeleta expressed the opposite opinion, so I don’t think there are so many variables that we can explore.
“Let’s wait while Andrea, very calmly, works with the seriousness and commitment that distinguishes him. Obviously, the thought of following the doubleheader of races in Qatar from the sofa at home might not be easy … Assuming Dovi is not on a motocross track in those hours.”
This hints that if Dovizioso was to return at Honda they would expect this to be with the full season, there are rumours of Marquez being forced into missing the entire 2021 season also, but for now, nothing is official and these can be classed as ‘fake news’ until something more official is said.
Featured images – motogp.com
Source – Sky Sports IT