MotoGP

Danilo Petrucci manager ‘confirms Ducati MotoGP exit’, eyeing WorldSBK

Danilo Petrucci's manager says his rider is out of the Ducati MotoGP project and looking at alternatives with Aprilia or moving to WorldSBK

UPDATE: Ducati has since confirmed Jack Miller will compete for the official factory team for the 2021 MotoGP season - FULL STORY HERE

Danilo Petrucci’s manager Alberto Vergani has all but confirmed the rider will indeed exit the Ducati MotoGP project at the end of the 2020 MotoGP season to make way for Jack Miller.

The Italian’s position in the factory Ducati squad has become increasingly perilous amid talk that Miller, who competes in the satellite Pramac Racing team has all-but sealed a deal that will take him to the works outfit for 2021.

However, with Andrea Dovizioso understood to be closing on a deal to remain next season – despite an apparent approach from KTM – Petrucci is set to be frozen out of the outfit, despite being one of just five riders to score a win last season en route to sixth overall.

With no opportunity to step back into his former Pramac Racing ride, Petrucci faces the prospect of trying to source a deal elsewhere – potentially with Aprilia – or take up a possible offer to switch to the WorldSBK Championship in order to remain associated with Ducati.

“Danilo is currently out of the Ducati project in MotoGP,” he told GPone. “Ducati has decided to focus on a rider like Miller, who has long been in the sights of [Gigi] Dall’Igna and for Danilo there is no place in the official team.

“It wasn’t easy when I told him, but this is the situation and there is little to be done. When Danilo joined the factory team, nobody asked him to win the World Championship. He has worked hard and honestly, at Mugello he achieved a victory that will remain in history. Unfortunately, the market was decided on the second part of last season. 

“Ducati could reposition him in WorldSBK with Aruba and we are evaluating it. At the same time I have started talking to Aprilia but nothing is concrete. Much will depend on what Iannone will do in 2021 and how the situation related to his disqualification will evolve.”

Does Danilo Petrucci deserve to lose his Ducati ride?

The coronavirus pause has done a number on Petrucci, who is effectively paying for a slump in form during the second half of last season.

Indeed, despite scoring a famous maiden MotoGP win at Mugello in front of Ducati’s tifosi, Petrucci never came close to hitting those heights in an unusually lacklustre end to the year. Alas for him, his downturn coincided with a run of strong podium finishes for Miller.

Petrucci had come into 2020 eager to prove his 2019 was merely a blip but with no racing taking place and Ducati under pressure to come to a decision on its rider line-up, it’s been forced to revert to last year to make its mind up.

It’s a frustrating outcome for Petrucci, who worked hard to get into the Ducati ride after three seasons on uncompetitive CRT/Open machinery followed by four years pedalling the Pramac Racing bike.

As for his options, Aprilia may very well be interested in Petrucci but it appears to be waiting for the outcome of Andrea Iannone’s drugs ban appeal before coming to a decision on 2021.

With this in mind Petrucci may feel more compelled to take control of his future with what would be a high-profile spot in the WorldSBK Championship alongside Scott Redding in the Aruba.it Ducati team, effectively following in the footsteps of Alvaro Bautista.
 

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