MotoGP

Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati in ‘stalemate’ over MotoGP 2021 negotiations

Talks between Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati over a deal for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship have stalled, raising speculation Jorge Lorenzo could return

Ducati team manager Gigi Dall’Igna has revealed the outfit is in a ‘stalemate’ with Andrea Dovizioso over a 2021 MotoGP World Championship deal amid talk Jorge Lorenzo could be lined up for a shock comeback.

Though Dovizioso was thought to be close to a deal that would see him extend his time at Ducati – particularly given the lack of options elsewhere on the grid now – talks are understood to have stalled because of a disagreement over finance.

As it stands, the factory Ducati Corse team has only confirmed Jack Miller in one of its seats for the 2021 MotoGP season, with the outgoing Danilo Petrucci this week announcing a move to KTM for next year.

However, while bosses have expressed a desire to retain Dovizioso – who has finished runner-up to Marc Marquez for the past three seasons – it has encountered a ‘stumbling block’ on the financial side.

This ‘stalemate’ has given rise to rumours that Lorenzo – who competed with Ducati in 2017 and 2018 - could be waiting in the wings to take over.

Though Dall’Igna plays down the prospect of the triple world champion coming back on board, he admits talks with Dovizioso aren’t progressing quickly.

"It is difficult to have a clear idea, surely it is understandable that a rider with Jorge's statistics intends to finish his career in a better way than he concluded last year," Dall’Igna told SkySports.it. "Having said this, it is certainly difficult to understand his real motivations.

“It is absolutely premature to make such an argument [about Lorenzo], certainly the negotiation with Dovizioso started a long time ago and is in a stalemate, so we will see.”

What next for Andrea Dovizioso if not Ducati?

Dovizioso has kept his cards very close to his chest throughout the prolonged MotoGP hiatus, claiming he is still considering his future amid contract negotiations with Ducati.

It is known KTM was courting the Italian for 2021, but that option is now off the table following the confirmation that it has signed Petrucci to its Tech 3 set up, with Miguel Oliveira assuming the Factory ride.

Despite this, Dovizioso has intimated he won’t simply sign with Ducati because he doesn’t have other options on the MotoGP grid and has hinted he will walk away from the sport altogether if he has to.

It’s created something of a cat and mouse situation between Ducati and Dovizioso, with neither seemingly willing to bow to each other’s demands based on the thinning options available to them if they cannot reach an agreement.

To Dovizioso’s credit, he has proven to be the reliable hand that has steered Ducati from occasional front runners to title contenders, a role he feels should be more richly rewarded in his contract. However, Ducati seems unsure of whether Dovizioso is the rider that will allow it to prise Honda and Marquez’s stranglehold on the MotoGP crown.

For sure, Dovizioso doesn’t seem to be in a rush to decide his future but Ducati will be keeping a keen eye on an available rider like Lorenzo – who on his day could defeat Marquez – to determine whether he is a viable alternative.

It’ll be interesting to see who will crack first…?
 

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