Danilo Petrucci accepts Ducati future is entirely up to him

Danilo Petrucci says the pressure is on to prove himself worthy of a 2021 Ducati MotoGP ride following his disappointing end to the 2019 season

Danilo Petrucci - Ducati Corse MotoGP

Danilo Petrucci says the enforced hiatus from racing puts the pressure squarely on him to prove himself to Ducati as soon as MotoGP returns to action.

The Italian stepped up to the factory Ducati outfit in 2019 and recorded a memorable maiden victory in front of the tifosi at Mugello, which immediately earned him a renewal for 2020.

However, thereafter Petrucci’s form stalled and by the end of the season he was being regularly out-performed and out-scored by Jack Miller on the satellite Pramac Racing machine to the extent it raised speculation they could be swapped for 2020.

That didn’t materialise, but with Ducati making it clear it has had eyes on Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales before they re-signed for Yamaha, the pressure remains that he must prove himself straight away on the return to action if he is to hang onto his seat for 2021.

“We didn’t talk about the contract with Ducati, we certainly would have done if the championship had started,” he told Sky Italia. “Everything will be postponed to July and August in the middle phase of the championship, to better see the values on the field.

“It is clear I would like to continue racing with Ducati, I have been with them since 2015 and I have always wanted to be in the place I am now.

“The renewal is in my hand, it all depends on my results, but if I am not good enough I will have to look around which I would regret.”

How under threat is Danilo Petrucci?

Ducati not-so-secret shopping spree for riders doesn’t exactly send out the most encouraging message for its existing riders, not least Miller and Johann Zarco who have stated they believe they are in with a good shout of a factory seat in 2021.

Indeed, Petrucci is the rider under the microscope for 2020 and while Vinales and Quartararo are no longer threats, the aforementioned riders will still be looking keenly at his seat.

It’ll take Petrucci to not only beat these riders but start getting closer, if not ahead of, Andrea Dovizioso if he wants to stay a factory rider for 2021.

Unfortunately time may not be on his side, with Miller especially no doubt going to want assurances for his future sooner rather than later having already hinted Ducati may lose his services if he doesn’t get the factory seat he has been longing for since 2015.

As such, it’s entirely plausible Ducati could sacrifice Petrucci in order to retain Miller.