“Ducati needs Andrea Dovizioso more than Dovizioso needs Ducati”

With Ducati's key targets for the 2021 MotoGP season slipping from their graps, Andrea Dovizioso finds himself in a stronger bargaining position

Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati 1200

While the focus is on his countryman Valentino Rossi and the question marks surrounding his future, another high-profile rider in Andrea Dovizioso is also reportedly considering whether he will continue beyond the 2020 MotoGP season.

One of the most experienced riders on the grid, Dovizioso has nonetheless enjoyed his strongest seasons during the Autumn of his career, his long-term investment to Ducati bearing fruit as he evolved with the infamously specialist Desmosedici platform.

The Italian has finished runner-up to Marc Marquez for the past three seasons, however while he came closest in 2017 by taking the title fight down to the wire, he actually enjoyed his strongest season in 2019 in terms of points scored despite finishing 151 points shy of his dominant rival.

However, despite the success together – which has included 13 wins – tensions have reportedly flared between Dovizioso and Ducati MotoGP chief Gigi Dall’Igna over the technical direction of the bike, while the manufacturer’s liberal attempt to lure a number of other riders has also sent signals as to its future plans.

Indeed, Dovizioso has long insisted he wouldn’t open contract talks before May regardless of whether Ducati was able to attract the likes of (the now re-signed) Maverick Vinales, Fabio Quartararo and Alex Rins, while he has also hinted it may well result in him walking away from the sport.

As it happens, Dovizioso’s position has strengthened on the back of key targets going on to sign new deals with other teams with his manager Simone Batistella saying Ducati now needs him more than he needs the team.

“He is open to everything and he is not in a hurry,” he told AS. “Ducati needs Dovizioso more than Dovizioso Ducati. And it is not a unique need for a pilot but also for a technical project.

"Andrea wants to continue running, naturally, but she is not doing anything yet because she wants to see how the different projects are developed.

“It is true that there has been tension between Andrea and Gigi, but it is a professional tension and one that has contributed to enhancing the project. The priority of both is not to impose their own will but to win, they both want to do it.”