After Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati scored a stunning, surprise and starring victory on both rider and manufacturer’s home soil in Mugello, Italy last week, Dovizioso doubled up on Sunday with his second win of the year at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday.
Dovizioso is the first Ducati rider to win back-to-back races since Casey Stoner in 2010, and did so Sunday in Spain after hounding the Repsol Honda teammates before getting around them.
First passing Marc Marquez and then Dani Pedrosa, Dovizioso made it through to the lead and would hold them both off the remainder of the race.
Marquez came second with Pedrosa third, with second Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo fourth and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Johann Zarco completing the top five finishers.
Dovizioso later explained that the race came down to tire management at the notoriously abrasive Barcelona circuit.
“We realized the grip was so bad and the rear tire consumption so high, that we shouldn’t just focus on the speed. And when we started the race, no one could push because everyone had to save the tire a lot,” Dovizioso said.
“I overtook a few riders and was behind Dani, and decided to stay there. He saved the rear tyre well, and I did, but I was able to conserve the front. I didn’t know what was going on behind or if someone was able to catch us because our pace wasn’t very high.
“Ten laps to the end I tried to push but when I got to the front I realized my tire was finished! But it was the same for them, too. It’s a strange feeling because I’ve never won by not pushing 100%!”
With this result and with points leader Maverick Viñales finishing only 10th, Dovizioso has closed to within seven points in the championship, now in second place (111-104).
Marquez (88), Pedrosa (84) and Valentino Rossi (83) are all within striking distance but need the top two to have an off weekend to catch up that gap.
MotoGP resumes in two weeks’ time at Assen in the Netherlands.