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Retiring Dovizioso "really didn't expect" Yamaha MotoGP struggles

Retiring 15-time MotoGP race winner Andrea Dovizioso admits he "really didn't expect" to encounter the struggles he has in adapting to the Yamaha MotoGP bike.

Andrea Dovizioso, RNF MotoGP Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Ahead of the British Grand Prix earlier this month, Dovizioso announced he would be retiring from MotoGP following September's San Marino GP.

The three-time championship runner-up returned to MotoGP full-time with Petronas SRT – which morphed into RNF Racing - from last year's San Marino race having served a brief sabbatical following his Ducati exit at the end of 2020.

But since then he has scored just 22 points and has struggled to adapt his riding style to what he describes as the "extreme characteristics" of the Yamaha.

Having previously ridden a Yamaha in 2012 for Tech3 and scoring six podiums that year, Dovizioso says the struggles he has faced over the last year have come as a shock.

"I really didn't expect to find this characteristic of the bike, because I already had experience with the Yamaha," he told Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview at Silverstone.

"So, I didn't find a completely different bike.

"But the point is the championship changed, the rules changed, the bike changed, the competitors changed and what I found is quite unique.

"And in this situation, we are living now in MotoGP, that characteristic is very extreme.

"Just in the way Fabio [Quartararo] is riding you can be that competitive. So, I didn't expect this extreme characteristic."

Andrea Dovizioso, RNF MotoGP Racing

Andrea Dovizioso, RNF MotoGP Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

By contrast to Dovizioso's struggles, reigning world champion and current points leader Fabio Quartararo has won three races on the M1.

In a 2021 interview with Motorsport.com, Quartararo spoke of how he was having to ride the Yamaha in a style "not natural" to him, with the Frenchman able to really utilise the strong front-end of the M1 to make up for its other deficiencies.

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Having ridden a Ducati for eight years prior to his Yamaha switch, Dovizioso believes in the current era of MotoGP it is "impossible" to completely alter you riding style to suit one bike.

"To change completely your way to ride is impossible," he explained. "No one can do it. You can adapt a bit to the characteristics of the bike.

"Every rider on the top level can adapt a bit, but they can't change completely the DNA of your way to ride, because it's too extreme the level – everybody is so fast.

"So, if you try to do a competitive riding style or way to approach the track like a competitor who is really good, you will never be good like him.

"You can be close, but never be good. You are good in some areas, everybody has something good, so with some bikes you can use more that or less, but you can't completely change it."

From the Aragon GP onwards, Dovizioso will be replaced by three-time MotoGP race winner and Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow.

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