MotoGP Silverstone: ‘Until it’s done, the championship is completely open’
Andrea Dovizioso believes the 2017 MotoGP championship will be “completely open” until the final race weekend at Valencia, after Sunday’s British Grand Prix saw the dramatic five-way title fight take another dramatic turn.
Just when it appears that one rider is gaining a foothold in this year’s running of the premier class, issues deriving from the bike, tyres or conditions conspire to blunt that momentum, as most recently witnessed by ex-championship leader Marc Marquez’s costly engine failure at Silverstone.
The reigning world champion’s first DNF since the French Grand Prix in May allowed Dovizioso to re-take the championship lead for the first time in this season’s second half. The Italian now sits nine points clear of Marquez, with Sunday runner-up Maverick Viñales just four back of his fellow Catalan.
And even in spite of his recent run, Dovizioso is “convinced” this year’s series will not be decided until the very end, with Valentino Rossi (fourth overall, 26 points back) and Dani Pedrosa (fifth, 35 points behind) still in the mix.
“Now it’s a little bit longer the championship,” said Dovizioso, basking in the delight of a fourth victory of the year. “But I’m convinced until done is completely open. Every race can change everything. Look at Marc. The last few races created a gap and looks like was the fastest. Today have bad luck, but this is something can happen.
“So, it’s completely open but we speak too much about the championship. I don’t think is still the right time. Everybody have to push 100 percent and try to get the maximum because the championship is still the points are very close. Six races is a lot of points. We have to think still race by race.”
Viñales took heart from Yamaha’s recent improvements at a one-day test at Misano, stating, “we are coming” ahead of the final six races of the year, his second place in England breathing fresh impetus into what was a flailing title challenge.
“Finally six races [and] a lot of points [remain],” said the Catalan. “We are quite close, especially in the championship. The first five riders still they are really close. So, we have to try and work really hard as this weekend and as I said, trying to improve the bike.
“The manufacturers improve it so much during the summer break and looks like we’re struggling a little bit more, but now we are coming. I know when our bike works we can be very strong. It’s what we have to do. Now six races to go, we have to come back stronger and trying and challenge every race.”
In the post-race press conference, Rossi opted for a light-hearted response to the question at first, stating, “I hope to arrive in Valencia with the top five riders equal in the points and make a very good weekend with the good weather Friday and Saturday and Sunday morning start to rain a lot. I hope this championship will decide like this in Valencia.”
But the Italian had previously played down his chances of a famous tenth world title, pointing to his recent difficulty in preserving the rear tyre for a race’s duration as the reason behind his scepticism.
“Yeah. I have [a] 26 points [deficit],” he said. “Is not a lot. Seven races to go, six maybe now, are a lot. But for me difficult. I’m not strong enough in the last laps for fight for the championship. So, I am not far but I am fourth, so is difficult.”
Source: Crash Net August 2017.