Andrea Dovizioso has laid the blame for his exit from the factory Ducati MotoGP team after eight years on a fractured relationship with its general manager Gigi Dall’Igna.
Dovizioso, who will take a sabbatical in 2021 announced during last August’s Austrian Grand Prix weekend that he would not be renewing his contract with Ducati beyond 2020, but remained coy on his motivation for this.
It was thought at the time that Ducati and Dovizioso could not meet on financial terms on a new deal, but the 15-time MotoGP race winner says this is false and a deal was never tabled. In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Dovizioso has opened up on what led to his Ducati exit, pointing towards the breakdown in relationship between himself and Dall’Igna since the 2017 season.
“What is the relationship with Gigi? Zero,” admitted Dovizioso. “In the past years it was at 30%, then since Jorge Lorenzo arrived in 2017 – in arguing and going against each other – my team became a bit isolated.
“We no longer talked about the development of the bike, we no longer held meetings to develop it. But in Ducati there is potential to do so, because the competence and skill [levels] are very high. Of these eight years it’s the only thing that makes me angry, because we could have done more.
“Gigi and I have not spoken calmly since 2017.”
Dovizioso denies that the decision not to go forward with him was unanimous among Ducati management, and claimed: “These decisions come only from Gigi. There is talk of Ducati, but it is wrong because all the decisions are his. Like the choice of Lorenzo in 2017.
“At the beginning of 2016 there was the possibility of taking on [Marc] Marquez, but Gigi had already decided that he wanted Lorenzo.”
Dovizioso suggests Dall’Igna’s mind was made up when the pair clashed during a technical meeting in 2019 between the German and Austrian Grands Prix.
“Gigi stated that he understood that it was already over from the 2019 meeting between the Sachsenring and Austria,” he said. “That was supposed to be a technical meeting, we had different ideas, there was friction and we wanted to meet with all the engineers.
“It started as a technical meeting but then ended as a confrontation between the two of us. Gigi felt attacked, beaten. I think at that moment he closed the doors, but he did it quietly and what he says confirms it.
“It was said that I wanted this and that. All lies. There was never an offer, there were no negotiations. I still did not know that they no longer wanted me. But what they said was the confirmation that for Dall’Igna it was already over after that 2019 meeting.”
Dovizioso is also critical of a lack of transparency over a 2021 Ducati deal, saying more knowledge of his standing within the team would have made him “consider the possibility of KTM in a different way” having held discussions which came to naught with the Austrian marque.
He hasn’t ruled out the possibility of standing in for the still-recovering Marquez at Honda in 2021 but declined to comment on the situation and would prefer to “see what they propose to me, if they will” before making any plans.