He may not be on track at the Red Bull Ring this weekend as he continues his recovery from a knee injury sustained in Brno, but Pecco Bagnaia seems closer to being Andrea Dovizioso on the Ducati factory team for the 2021 MotoGP season to replace.
The Italian manufacturer was left in the lurch after a disagreement with front runner Dovizioso – Marc Marquez’s runner-up in each of the last three seasons. t happy with.
His departure confirmation comes after Ducati announced it would replace Danilo Petrucci with Jack Miller in late 2020, despite always assuming Dovizioso would stay before bad relationships thwarted those plans.
At this point in the year, Ducati has few options to fill a seat that should compete for the title in 2021, but it is now believed that a minimum two-year contract will be signed with Bagnaia to keep it in Ducati. to keep folding. A decision as to whether he will stay with Pramac Racing or be promoted with Miller is to be made later.
“We are defining an extension with Bagnaia for two years. We will decide later whether it will apply to the official team or whether it will continue for a year with Pramac,” Paolo Ciabatti told Sky Italia. “We intend to continue with Zarco and then be able to add an Italian rider who comes from Moto2 to one of our teams.”
While such a performance seemed questionable last year when the 2018 Moto2 champion Bagnaia linked flashes of speed with inconsistency and a string of falls, this season he was a match for Miller with the latest Ducati GP20 at Jerez and would have scored his first MotoGP podium , but for technical problems.
His knee injury came at an inopportune time and prevented him from really getting his point across at the cheap Red Bull Ring, but by promoting Bagnaia, Ducati will at least make the Tifosi happy and sign another Italian.
What about the other Ducati seats?
Bizarrely, of the eight MotoGP places yet to be officially confirmed for 2021, five have ended up with Ducati, a statistic that is even more surprising as it clearly tracked everyone from Fabio Quartararo to Maverick Vinales to Joan Mir and Alex Rins at the beginning of the year.
Instead, Ducati’s neglect of Dovizioso has led him to choose to go on his terms, even if his place for 2021 might just be his sofa for now.
Beyond Bagnaia, Johann Zarco rose from relative hero to zero within a few days with his pole / podium finish in Brno and then the incident at the Red Bull Ring, but few can deny that he was impressive on the undreamt-of Avintia Ducati GP19.
The Frenchman has long said he has his eye on a factory headquarters, but it seems unlikely that Ducati would ever choose Zarco over Bagnaia, given that it has invested in the latter. Hence, Zarco will likely stay with Avintia, but Ducati will likely pay him a little more attention for the rest of 2020 and through 2021 …
As for Pramac Racing, it will become Ducati’s proving ground again for the future, which is pretty exciting given that it has the pick of a talented Moto2 group. With Jorge Martin looking for one of the rides, Ciabatti’s comment of wanting another Italian narrow things down, with Luca Marini (left in the picture above) and Enea Bastianini (right) expected to compete against the available seat.
The money is currently with Marini, as he would succeed his VR46 Academy driver colleague Bagnaia, although Bastianini is probably seen as the stronger future bet …