Andrea Dovizioso decided to take a year off at the end of last season after being unable to reach an agreement for the following campaign with his then team, Ducati. The other (few) offers that he received were not good enough to persuade him to stay.
The Italian thus decided to take a year out and continue competing in motocross racing, his other great passion, while he waited for a good opportunity to return to the MotoGP World Championship in 2022.
One of the offers he rejected for 2021 was precisely that of Aprilia. At that time, the team from Noale was one of the weakest in the championship and in Dovi’s opinion, their sports’ project was not up to his level.
Dovi waiting for Honda
The truth is, however, that the pilot from Forlimpopoli was keeping the door open in case Honda came knocking. With the place of injured Marc Márquez still to be filled, he was hoping to be chosen as his temporary replacement while the Spaniard recovered. But the team of the golden wing could not give him a set minimum number of World Cup races.
The team led by Alberto Puig was hoping for a more rapid recovery of the Catalan champion and didn’t want to commit to anyone else. Then came the pre-season tests in Qatar where the Italian machine surprised with an extraordinary performance leap. So much so that team leader, the Spaniard Aleix Espargaró, was at the top of the standings for most of the sessions.
Dovi says ‘yes’ to Aprilia
Well, Andrea has accepted the invitation and will be present at the MotoGP testing (April 12-14) at the Jerez Circuit. This agreement opens up a horizon of new possibilities for both parties.
It is in fact highly likely that, if he is comfortable with the new machine, he could act as a test rider in 2021, a position which became vacant only hours before the start of the tests in Qatar, when Bradley Smith rejected the role.
Or maybe Dovi could become one of their pilots. Who knows! Aprilia’s ‘second’ seat is currently occupied by Lorenzo Salvadori. The also Italian contested a few races in 2020 but his performance in the winter tests in Qatar was disappointing. The 28-year-old rookie has in fact been slower than other young and less experienced pilots.
Dovi & Aprilia, very happy
After confirming the deal with Aprilia,Andrea Dovizioso said: “I was pleased by Aprilia’s interest and when we spoke about the possibility of doing this test, I gladly accepted the invitation to be able to ride a MotoGP bike again and to stay in form, giving the engineers my feedback. I wish to thank Aprilia Racing for this opportunity.”
And Massimo Rivola, Aprilia Racing CEO explained: “It was a pleasure to invite Andrea. The days in Jerez will simply be a chance to get to know one another better, also on the track. It will not be a ‘trial matrimony’ but an opportunity to turn some laps together without any binding commitment for the future. We are well aware of all Andrea’s qualities and his contribution will be important, even for just one test.”
Images: Andrea Dovizioso.