On the day of his 33rd birthday, I look back at Andrea Dovizioso’s career from his 125cc days to challenging for the title in MotoGP.
This year marks the 11th year Dovizioso has been in the premier class with the Italian coming to the foreground of the championship in the past few years. Pushing Marc Marquez right to the very end.
Dovi’s first world title came in 2004 in the 125cc championship with Team Scot Honda beating the likes of Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Alvaro Bautista. He picked up five victories and a further six podiums on his way to the title.
He moved up to 250cc in 2005 where he claimed Rookie of the Year at the end of the season for finishing third in the championship with five podiums to his name.
In 2006, the championship went right down to the wire, but Lorenzo won the title in the last race which meant Dovi had to settle for second place. A third year in the second tier and he finished second in the championship again to Lorenzo in 2007.
Dovi made the step up to MotoGP with Team Scot in 2008 and made his mark very quickly in the premier class. On his debut, he managed a highly respectable fourth place in Qatar and passed Valentino Rossi on the last lap. He finished an overall fifth place in the standings at the end of his rookie season and he was the most consistent Honda rider that year.
In 2009, he was then promoted to the Repsol Honda team replacing Nicky Hayden and partnering Dani Pedrosa. He finally won his first race in MotoGP at the British GP at Donington Park in typical British conditions (wet).
He spent the next two seasons at Repsol Honda. The team decided to have three riders in 2011 and added 2007 World Champion Casey Stoner to the line-up. Dovi finished third that season behind Lorenzo and Stoner who won his second championship with a different manufacturer.
A manufacturer change was on the cards for Dovi in 2012 as he left Repsol Honda for Tech 3 Yamaha. He bagged a third place at the Catalan Grand Prix and finished fourth in the championship ahead of his teammate Cal Crutchlow.
In 2013, it was announced that Rossi was leaving the Ducati team which opened the door for Dovi. It took him a while to tame the Ducati beast but over the past years, he has been gradually improving on his world championship standing positions on the Ducati.
2017 was a landmark season for the Italian. Battling with the reigning MotoGP World Champion for the title. There were so many close battles between the two and fantastic last lap battles that saw Dovi come out on top. However, despite Dovi’s efforts, Marquez went on to win his sixth championship and then seventh in 2018.
A great start to 2019 saw Dovi take the first victory of the season in Qatar GP after another last lap battle with Marquez and the Professor came out on top.
However, that win seems to be waiting in the balance at the minute as protests about the Ducati's winglets have been put forward to the stewards and the decision will be made next week on the matter of disqualification.
Dovizioso has had a spectacular career but he will be gunning for a MotoGP World Championship. Will 2019 be his year?