MotoGP, They all want red: Ducati rules the market

With Petrucci close to signing with Pramac, the fight for the Tuscan team's second bike and the two Avintia bikes begins

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Times, weather, tyres, chassis and... contracts. There is already much talk about the riders' market in the Sachsenring paddock, and while it may be a little less electrifying than usual, with all the big names already set,  it's nevertheless interesting. The name on everyone's lips is Danilo Petrucci, who Ducati hope to keep while Aprilia is doing its best to attract him.

Despite internet news claiming that the rider has already signed for 2018, this is not in fact the case. There's no point denying though that the Italian is very close to Pramac, and it's looking as if the deal may be done before tomorrow evening, allowing the rider a worry-free holiday.

Once the Petrucci chapter is closed, thoughts will turn to who will take the second bike. Redding's future is uncertain, his performance is less than satisfactory but it's not so easy to find a replacement. Miller's name continues to be mentioned but, as we already wrote, his economic demands are too high and negotiations haven't even begun.

If Jack were to agree to a pay cut, there may be room to talk, or Miller may in any case stay with Honda and team Marc VDS.

Petrucci's decision will naturally impact on Aprilia's moves. The Noale manufacturer's plan B is Bautista, who was let go at the end of last season. His return to the Italian squad is possible, or perhaps they will opt to give Lowes a second chance, considering his small steps forward in Germany, particularly in the wet.

Team Avintia is still wide open, as the squad may choose not to confirm either of its riders. Barbera and Baz have been told that Germany and Brno will serve as two tests, if they pass, all well and good but if not they should start looking elsewhere.

The team is in no particular rush to confirm its 2018 line-up and may wait until late August before deciding. One of the names doing the rounds is Tito Rabat, who was also in contact with Pramac. Behind him is a long list of contenders: Redding for example, Mika Kallio who has woken up at the Sachsenring while the Spanish press even add Axel Pons, though that is about as likely as a storm in the Sahara.

As of Monday the riders are on holiday, while the managers remain in the office.

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Translated by Heather Watson

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