A sleepy June was expected, spent counting the days left from the start of the MotoGP, but there were lots of twists and turns. Of course, not on the track, but on the negotiating table, with some unexpected market blows. The last was Honda's, securing Pol Espargarò until 2022, giving him Alex Marquez 's place on the official team.
At this point, KTM has had their most experienced rider stolen from them and they need to replace him. Dovizioso is free for the moment, and they could decide to focus on the rider from Forlì, but Ducati doesn't seem too alarmed by the attacks that could arrive from the Austrian front.
“We're not worried," Ducati's Sports Director, Paolo Ciabatti stated. "If confirmed, Honda's move would be unexpected and would certainly steal from KTM the rider with more experience and knowledge of the bike. But there's not only Andrea. For example, Petrucci is on the market. At the moment, it's not part of our MotoGP project."
Are negotiations with Dovizioso taking longer than expected?
“They're taking the time we expected. This period of inactivity has led everyone, including the riders, to reflect, but now both we and Andrea have clear ideas, and there's the possibility of finding an agreement in a relatively short time."
Before the start of the championship?
“We and Andrea have all the elements to make a decision in the coming weeks, and I don't see any reason to wait. I don't think there's anything to add, unless Andrea wants to start racing before making his choice, but that would be his will.”
Is there a two- or one-year agreement on the plate?
“We're talking about two years. If Andrea wants it, we would be willing to consider an annual contract with an option for the following season, but it should be his proposal."
What's the mood?
“I'm serenely optimistic, although we still have to overcome some obstacles. I think reaching an agreement is the best solution for both of us, and there's a will on our part. I hope Andrea shares it with us. I don't want to repeat myself, but we have to fix the economic aspect. The situation has changed for everyone. We have to understand what impact this crisis will have on the sale of motorcycles and if we'll be able to reach the same budget from the sponsorships that we've had so far.”
Let's assume Dovizioso doesn't accept. What's Plan B?
“There's no rider who could offer the same guarantees in terms of competitiveness, since Andrea is our number one choice. If we can't find an agreement, we'll wait for the start of the championship to be able to evaluate the riders already tied to us and without a contract. We made an investment on Pecco Bagnaia in unsuspected times, and we believe a lot in him . We expect him to show his talent. Then there's Zarco, who had a difficult season, but is a two-time world champion and has achieved excellent results in the MotoGP. Even Danilo Petrucci still doesn't have a contract."
Would Jorge Lorenzo's return be possible?
"I've never heard of this option in Ducati."
Let's move on to Pramac. There's been talk of Jorge Martin in recent weeks.
"I don't deny that we have a strong interest in him, but the situation now is more complex because KTM may want him."
"Our goal is to confirm him, but not having been able to evaluate him, since the championship has not started, we think it better for everyone to wait for the first races."