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Dovizioso doubles up with MotoGP win at Barcelona

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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.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

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“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”