Andrea Dovizioso scored a fifth-place finish in the Grand Prix of Japan, round 15 of the 2015 World Championship held today at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. His Ducati Team team-mate Andrea Iannone was forced to retire from the race because of a technical problem with his Desmosedici GP15.
This morning, poor visibility due to low clouds and heavy rainfall at the Japanese circuit meant that Race Direction took the decision to delay the warm-up sessions for all categories. The MotoGP race started on time and took place in wet conditions, but even though the rain had stopped the track surface never dried out completely.
Dovizioso, who started the race from row 2, immediately powered into third, a position he held until lap 10. On the following lap he was passed by Pedrosa, the eventual race winner, and in the next few laps he had to slow his pace because of progressive wear on his rain tyres. With four laps remaining, Andrea was no longer able to defend himself from the attacks of Marquez and he concluded the GP of Japan in fifth place.
Andrea Iannone was out of luck at Motegi, the Italian also lining up on row 2 after Saturday’s qualifying session. After a good start he crossed the line in fifth at the end of the opening lap, but then lost more positions in the next few laps and had to stop in the gravel on lap 11 because of a problem with the engine of his Desmosedici GP15. Today’s retirement is the first this season for the man from Abruzzo.
Iannone still lies fourth in the overall standings, while Dovizioso drops to seventh behind Pedrosa and Smith.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 5th
“Today we didn’t have such a bad race pace, but after a few laps the front tyre started to deteriorate, and I was no longer able to brake well. It was a bit of a strange situation, because although everyone else probably had the same tyre wear, in my case at the start, when the track was still wet, the front was closing in all the time and I couldn’t push hard. It was a real pity because we had good pace and I think that we could have fought for the podium. In any case we took home a fifth place in difficult conditions because it was not easy to get to the chequered flag. It was a real pity because we had a lot more potential today.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – DNF
“It wasn’t an easy race because already at the start my GP15’s engine didn’t seem to have much drive. I realized that there was a problem, but I hoped that it wasn’t the case. However when I saw that all of my rivals were passing me easily coming out of the corners and on the straight, I knew that my bike didn’t have its usual performance. I tried to do the best I could, and I was trying to hold on but unfortunately I couldn’t finish the race.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“We certainly expected a lot more from today’s race. Both Dovizioso and Iannone had shown that they had good pace throughout the weekend, but the weather conditions complicated the situation somewhat. Dovizioso had a good race, riding very well in the early laps before his tyres started to go off, and this forced him to slow. Iannone’s race unfortunately was ruined by an engine problem on his GP15, and we’ll be trying to shed some light on that now.”