The silly 2021 season has already started ahead of the first official pre-season test in Sepang, slated to begin on Friday, with Yamaha moving to secure the services of Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo.
Ducati had previously made no secret of its desire to lure Vinales and reportedly turned to Quartararo before the Frenchman accepted Yamaha’s offer, reducing the Borgo Panigale brand’s options outside of its own stable.
Currently, works Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci both left their contracts at the end of the season. Pramacs Jack Miller and Avintias Johann Zarco now appear to be the leading alternatives in case one of the incumbents misses a deal for ’21.
Dall’Igna said he felt Ducati could use the pressures of uncertainty in the rider market to get more out of its riders, contrary to Yamaha’s approach.
“If you listen to the reporters, the contracts should be signed as soon as possible to calm the drivers down and focus them on the championship,” said Dall’Igna. “I am not convinced that this is always the correct rule.
“With some drivers it is absolutely right that we have to do that. But with others I have the feeling that they do better under pressure, even if I have no mathematical certainty, because the human mind is always something difficult to decipher something. “
When asked about Ducati’s 2021 driver plans, CEO Claudio Domenicali hinted at a possible change by stating that it was not the company’s priority to maintain an all-Italian line-up.
“We want fast drivers, so we are lucky because we have fast Italian drivers,” said Domenicali at the team start last month ahead of the Yamaha announcements.
“So that’s a positive thing. But we built our story with Australian drivers, Italian drivers, British drivers – Carl Fogarty [in World Superbikes] was a fantastic piece of history.
“It’s not that we start from nationality. Gigi is very clear about that, and I can no longer agree. “
Rins, Suzuki about to renew their contract
With Ducati apparently in no hurry to decide on its 2021 riders, the next announcement could well come from Suzuki, who are looking to banned Alex Rins.
Rumors circulated in the Italian press that an agreement had already been reached between Rins and Suzuki, but a source within the Hamamatsu company denied this.
“The two sides are working together with a desire to define the missing details,” the source told Motorsport.com. “But we are confident.”
Despite Ducati’s interest, Joan Mir is likely to stay with Suzuki in 2021 as well as part of an unchanged line-up for the team.
Additional coverage by Matteo Nugnes
Alex Rins, Team Suzuki MotoGP, Joan Mir, Team Suzuki MotoGP
Photo by: Srinivasa Krishnan