Fabio Quartararo believes MotoGP is set to lose a ‘big name’ when Andrea Dovizioso retires after Sunday’s Misano Grand Prix, while Francesco Bagnaia has heaped praise on the Italian by calling him the only rider able to fight Marc Marquez in his prime.
Dovizioso, who is a 15-time MotoGP race winner, will bring an end to his impressive career after Sunday’s race before Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow steps in to finish the season.
Unable to make his return to Yamaha work after nearly a full year away from the sport in 2021, the Italian will be most remembered for his time with Ducati where he took 14 of his 15 victories – his maiden premier class win came in the colours of Repsol Honda at Donington Park (2009).
“For me he was a rider that stayed a really long time in MotoGP and was a great athlete, a great rider,” said reigning champion Quartararo during the pre-event press conference.
“Of course, it’s a big name going away from MotoGP. I think he won more than 15 races in MotoGP so he is a big rider and I wish him the best after this race.”
Whether it was his rookie season in 2019 or 2022 where Quartararo has been the only Yamaha rider able to fight at the front of the field, on-track battles between the pair have been fairly limited.
However, that’s not the case between Dovizioso and eight-time world champion Marquez, as the two provided some of the best last lap battles in MotoGP history.
Bagnaia, who is looking to do something neither Dovizioso or another Ducati great in Casey Stoner managed this weekend which is to win four consecutive races for the Italian brand, highlighted just as much when saying ‘Dovi’ was the only man able to take the fight to Marquez when the Honda rider was dominating the sport.
Bagnaia added: “For sure, it will be an emotional weekend for him to stop in Misano. We can all have a great memory about Dovi because he has done so many great things in the last years with Ducati.
“He was the only one fighting with Marc [Marquez] in the moment where Marc was at the top. We will miss Andrea because he was one of the most clear person in MotoGP.”