Super Swap

Prominent guest driver at Audi Sport in the DTM: On the 8th and 9th of June, Italian MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso (33) will swap his Ducati Desmosedici GP for a weekend at the wheel of an Audi RS 5 DTM. The Ducati ace, a two-time MotoGP runner-up, contests the DTM races at Misano (Italy) for the customer squad WRT Team Audi Sport. With assistance from Audi Sport, Dovizioso has prepared intensively for his DTM debut.

05/29/2019 Reading Time: 4 min

Andrea Dovizioso next to the Audi RS 5 DTM and Ducati Desmosedici GP

THE TWO-TIME MOTOGP RUNNER-UP

Andrea Dovizioso (33) has contested in the World Motorcycle Championship since 2001, and MotoGP – the top class – since 2008. The Italian is now in his seventh year as a factory rider for Ducati. Dovizioso finished runner-up in the championship in 2017 and 2018. He comes from the town of Forlimpopoli, about 50 kilometres from the Italian DTM racing venue Misano. It was here in 2018 that “Dovi”, as his friends and fans call him, won the San Marino Motorcycle Grand Prix. He inherited his racing genes from his father: “My dad competed in amateur motocross races. I started racing when I was four years old. Of course, at that age I wasn’t thinking about the world championship.”

Audi RS 5 DTM on the racetrack; Ducati Desmosedici GP on the racetrack

TWO DISTINCT RELATIVES

At his two guest DTM appearances, Andrea Dovizioso swaps his Ducati Desmosedici GP for an Audi RS 5 DTM. The racing bike from the Audi subsidiary Ducati and the racing car from the Volkswagen brand Audi are very different:

  Ducati Desmosedici GP Audi RS 5 DTM (2019)
Basic concept Rear-wheel-drive motorbike Rear-wheel-drive car
Weight (without driver) 157 kilograms 986 kilograms
Engine Four-cylinder naturally aspirated Four-cylinder turbo
Displacement 1 litre 2 litre
Output 250 hp (184 kW) 610 hp (449 kW)
Weight-to-Power ratio 0.6 kg/hp 1.6 kg/hp
Top speed ca. 350 km/h ca. 300 km/h
Andrea Dovizioso and Mattias Ekström

UNCHARTED TERRITORY ON FOUR WHEELS

After several rally and GT races, Andrea Dovizioso now celebrates his automobile debut in the DTM. “I never drove karts as a kid, only motocross and later pocket bikes,” the Italian reveals.

Audi RS 5 DTM on the racetrack

SCARY SEARCH FOR THE RACING LINE

With help from Audi Sport, the MotoGP star has prepared intensively for his DTM race outings. After initial practice laps in the race simulator and a one-day functional test in the Audi Competence Center Motorsport in Neuburg an der Donau, Dovizioso took part in another two-day test on the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli – the same venue where he won his home race on two wheels in 2018.

Audi RS 5 DTM on the racetrack

The Ducati factory rider helmed the test mule of the new Audi RS 5 DTM powered by a 610+ hp two-litre, four-cylinder turbo engine. On hand with advice were two seasoned DTM experts: factory driver Nico Müller in Neuburg and at Misano ex-DTM driver Mattias Ekström, two-time DTM Champion and World Rallycross Champion with Audi.

 

Although as a motorcycle racer he has spent more than ten years exceeding speeds of 300 km/h, Andrea Dovizioso was in for a big surprise during his DTM tests at Misano: “I got a fright in the first laps. I didn’t expect it. But the Misano track is very different to the Neuburg one. I knew that the fastest corner at Misano is taken at full speed in the DTM car, but when I got there for the first time I thought: no, it’s impossible to drive it at full throttle.”

 

There is a logical explanation for this: As a motorcycle rider, Dovizioso has not experienced the phenomenon of aerodynamic downforce from the body, wings and underbody of a race car, which generates extra grip in addition to the tyres and suspension.

 

“As a racing driver, you simply need the feeling of being in control,” states Andrea Dovizioso. “And that takes time. The line you take in a car is very different to the racing line on a bike.” But with each lap at Misano, he built more and more trust in the enormous grip potential of the Audi RS 5 DTM. “What’s more, the team gave me a lot of help with its analyses to understand everything,” adds the Italian, who is known for his analytical approach.

Andrea Dovizioso in the Audi RS 5 DTM

RELAXED POWER CHECK

Right from the first metre, Andrea Dovizioso was impressed with the new turbo technology, which was introduced in the 2019 DTM season: “The engine produces so much power already at low revs that the car is very easy to control in a slide. You can push really hard before the rear comes around.”

Mattias Ekström and Andrea Dovizioso

PASSED ALL THE TESTS

After the Misano tests, Andrea Dovizioso feels well prepared for his DTM debut there on 8th and 9th June: “Audi Sport, Mattias Ekström and I used the time we had available perfectly.” Dovizioso even practiced pit stops, which are mandatory in DTM races. The motorbike racing professional will continue intensive training on the gluteal muscles, which hurt at the end of the tests due to the unusual fixed seating position behind the wheel and through the high g-forces.

HAPPY HEADING INTO FIRST RACE

“Driving the Audi RS 5 DTM is so much fun, way more in fact than I expected,” admits Andrea Dovizioso, despite being told this by Valentino Rossi, his famous MotoGP colleague and compatriot, who has already driven a DTM car. Because of this, the anticipation for his DTM debut, where he will replace the Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi in the Audi customer team WRT Team Audi Sport, grows stronger by the day.

 

He is conscious, however, of keeping his expectations realistic: “I’m not far off in terms of speed, but it will be extremely difficult to bring everything together at the right time – especially in qualifying. Unlike me, all the DTM drivers are hugely experienced with these cars. But I’m so happy, so grateful for this chance and so proud!” Jokingly, Andrea Dovizioso adds: “Starting from pole position will be tough!”

Andrea Dovizioso’s Audi RS 5 DTM

ANDREA
DOVIZIOSO

Andrea Dovizioso next to the Audi RS 5 DTM and Ducati Desmosedici GP
Audi RS 5 DTM on the racetrack
Andrea Dovizioso in the garage

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