MotoGP star Andrea Dovizioso has been confirmed as DTM’s first high-profile guest driver for the 2019 season. The Ducati factory team rider will switch from two to four wheels when he drives an Audi RS5 DTM in the Misano event, DTM’s third race of the season, between June 7-9.
“This is a big deal – and not just for MotoGP fans,” said Gerhard Berger, Chairman of the DTM umbrella organisation ITR. “I’m really pleased that our manufacturers are supporting the concept of high-profile guest drivers once again this season.” Dovizioso’s appearance is the latest in a line of celebrity link-ups: in 2018, former DTM champion Mattias Ekström raced for Audi at Hockenheim); ChampCar legend and Olympics gold medallist Alessandro Zanardi successfully drove for BMW at Misano, and WRC world champion Sebastien Ogier contested the Red Bull Ring at the wheel of a Mercedes. Berger added: “It will be fascinating to watch how one of the best motorcyclists in the world adapts to the challenge of DTM. The world will be watching intently.” Misano DTM will not be Dovizioso’s first car race – at the end of 2016, he took part in the final leg of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo, at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, impressing immediately.
“I am very happy to be competing in such a competitive series as the DTM,” said Dovizioso. “For every Italian racer, Misano is a special track, and the place where I scored an incredible victory last year. That’s why I’m very excited and grateful for this opportunity.” Dovizioso, who finished the 2017 and ’18 MotoGP seasons as runner-up in the riders’ championship, is considered a title contender again this year. The 33-year-old won the season opener in Qatar in March and, after finishing fourth in last Sunday’s Spanish Jerez, is third in the championship standings. He has won 13 MotoGP races. He follows in the footsteps of Johnny Cecotto, who drove for BMW in the DTM between 1989 to 1992. The Venezuelan racer, who won the 350cc title in 1975 and also raced in Formula 1, was the first motorcycle rider to compete in the DTM. Dovizioso won the 125cc category in 2004.