Dovizioso and Iannone have stepped up their performance heading Into the race in Aragon.
In a year of Spanish dominance, Sunday’s Misano MotoGP meeting belonged to the Italians.
Italians ruled the day
When cheers for hometown hero Valentino Rossi subsided, Italian fans took further pride in knowing that their countrymen captured not only the win, but three of the race’s top five spots.
In Sunday’s GP TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, strong finishes by Andrea Dovizioso (4th) and Andrea Iannone (5th) suggested continued improvement by the Italian riders and, possibly more importantly, their Ducati machinery.
Ducati is getting stronger
Their performances may have been overshadowed by Rossi’s win, but landing two Ducatis in the top five suggests that the situation is improving for the recently struggling Italian manufacturer. Pramac Racing’s Iannone has finished fifth in three of the last five races, an impressive feat for an open-class team. Dovizioso has started on the front row in three of the last four races and claimed top five finishes in the last two.
What is more significant than finishing position is the riders’ intervals from the lead. At Misano, Dovizioso came in 5.51 seconds behind Rossi, and Iannone was 11.7 seconds back, both of which were the riders’ closest gaps to first place of the season.
A gap of five seconds at the flag is like a dream, I didn’t think it was possible
Andrea Dovizioso after fourth place finish last weekend
For Dovizioso, each of the last four races has shown him cut time from his interval from the winner. Three weeks ago at Silverstone he finished nine seconds off the lead, and one race later he almost cut that interval in half. He commented after the Silverstone race, “Finishing the race less than ten seconds behind the leaders was almost a dream before the start, but instead we did it and we were always in with a fighting chance of finishing on the podium.”
Apparently he hasn’t woken up from the “dream” he experienced at Silverstone. He commented after Sunday’s Misano race that, “a gap of five seconds at the flag is like a dream, I didn’t think it was possible today.”
Still, further improvements are necessary to bring the seventh-year GP rider into contention for a win.
“We’re not yet close enough to fight with the front runners and we still have to grit our teeth for the entire race. I tried to grab third place from Pedrosa until the very end but today I was really over the limit in certain parts, so fourth was okay,” Dovizioso commented.
Iannone holds on despite ailing engine
Iannone faced his own woes at Misano, but made the best of his situation.
“My engine was not at its full potential but we knew it before the race that it had less power. I am satisfied with this result, it is our lowest distance from the first rider this year and this confirms the improvements. It’s a good result and it’s a good thing for the future,” Iannone said.
With Ducati Team rider Cal Crutchlow’s disappointing season, Dovizioso and Iannone have proven to be the top two Ducati riders. Ducati Team has noticed, recently signing Pramac Racing’s Iannone to be Dovizioso’s new factory teammate for 2015.
Look out Honda and Yamaha. In recent weeks, performance, both by rider and machine, has shown that Ducati Team may field a duo of serious competitors for wins in 2015.