MotoGP star Andrea Dovizioso says he has “no expectations” heading into his DTM debut next month, after sampling the Audi RS 5 DTM for the first time this week.
The factory Ducati Corse rider took part in a one-and-a-half day test at the Italian circuit, in what marked his first time back in a race car since competing in the 2016 Lamborghini World Final at Valencia as a guest driver.
Dovizioso, who will be in a third Team WRT-entered Audi for the June 8-9 event, said the turbocharged Audi was “huge fun” to drive but admits he still has plenty to learn.
“The biggest challenge for me was to reach the limit in the fast corners, especially in the first six or seven laps,” he said. “I simply lacked a feel for it.
“Actually, the DTM race cars generate so much downforce that theoretically you can do so much more.
“It’s very different than the MotoGP bike. I knew that the DTM drivers tackle certain corners flat-out. When I drove those passages myself with the RS 5 DTM, I thought it was impossible. But then Mattias helped me a lot.”
Two-time DTM champion and longtime Audi driver Mattias Ekstrom was on hand to help Dovizioso re-acclimate to four-wheeled racing.
“I think we worked very well together, but with a guy like Mattias I hadn’t expected it to be otherwise,” Dovizioso said. “The same applies to the entire Audi Sport crew.
“The support I received was simply overwhelming. We made perfect use of the time we had available for testing.
“We not only turned a lot of laps but also simulated many situations that will crop up during the race, for instance, my starts, pit stops and tire management.”
Dovizioso, who won in MotoGP competition at Misano last year, said he’s not putting too much pressure on himself, knowing the immense level of competition in the series.
“As far as the end result is concerned I have no expectations,” he said. “The level of competition in the DTM is notorious for being extremely high.
“I’ve watched a lot of races and they all seem very close. I’ll try to keep up with the field, but that’s about it in my view.
“In many situations experience is needed, which I obviously don’t have. For this reason, I’m not going to set myself unrealistic goals; I’m just going to enjoy it.”