Dovizioso Sets Goals for 2009
“To finish ahead of Dani would be important, and I am confident about my chances, but I will be mainly focused on stepping on the podium any time I can, being consistent with my new Honda HRC throughout the season,” admitted Dovizioso shortly after the Valencia testing session last week.
The Italian stepped in from the 250cc last season and finished his debut year on a promising 5th place in the overall classification, behind former 250cc rival and series champion Jorge Lorenzo. The difference between the two riders was that the Spaniard competed on a works Yamaha bike, while Dovi had to settle for a second-hand Honda (for JiR Team Scot).
If Honda are to challenge for the world title this season, it's quite obvious that a good way to start their preparation for 2009 would be to ensure a close relationship between the two riders. The last thing Honda wants is to have the same problems as last year between Pedrosa and Hayden. Although admitting he is still in the process of getting to know his teammate, Dovizioso is sure that he won't become a second 'Hayden' for Alberto Puig.
“Dani is a former 125cc and 250cc world champion and a great rider, but first of all he is a good guy, probably even shyer than I am. Maybe this is the reason why we don't have a great feeling yet, but we will have a lot of time to know each other. I think right now he is not reaching his level on the road, maybe also because of his manager,” added the Italian.
Dovizioso's first outing with his new Honda bike happened at Valencia – shortly after the season finale – the Italian managing a 2nd best time in the wet Tuesday session.