Will Ducati regret allowing prized Andrea Dovizioso asset to leave?

Andrea Dovizioso's win in the Austrian MotoGP looks set to show Ducati exactly what it will be missing when he exits the team at the end of the 2020 MotoGP season

Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati 1200
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati 1200

After delays and delays and rebuff after rebuff, Andrea Dovizioso’s confirmation he won’t renew with Ducati for the 2021 MotoGP season may not ultimately be a surprise, but that doesn’t lessen the gravity of the situation.

Of course, we will never entirely know the finer details of why they couldn’t come to terms but both parties have said there were financial matters at play.

That fact he went on to win Sunday’s Austrian MotoGP just rammed home a message that this is what Ducati could regret when the Italian moves on to what could well simply be his sofa in 2021 if he does land one of the few options remaining…

Runner-up to Marc Marquez for the past three seasons, Dovizioso is known to have been chasing what he felt he was worth, which was already at odds with a Ducati that’d intimated that while the Italian has been an excellent team leader in the past few years, he lacked the final bite to really beat Marquez.

This assessment from his own team bosses appeared to set the tone for the discussions but Dovizioso – whose reliability and consistency has seen him carve a reputation as one of the sport’s more dependable race day figure – stuck to his guns as the rhetoric became increasingly fraught.

Perhaps an indication of what was to come, on Friday the camera happened to be trained on Dovizioso as TV monitors flashed up a tweet from Davide Tardozzi in which he said he expected a decision soon, prompting the Italian to laugh and look away.

‘No Plan B for Andrea Dovizioso’

As a measure of how bad things had become, Dovizioso’s exit could well leave him off the 2021 MotoGP grid altogether.

Beyond Ducati’s various seats to fill, the only other remaining rides are the Petronas SRT Yamaha – which is going to Valentino Rossi – and one of the Aprilia RS-GPs, which has Andrea Iannone as a placeholder the 2021 while he awaits his drugs appeal.

Ducati is better off in comparison, but questions must be asked when Dovizioso becomes the latest rider to leave the manufacturer on indifferent terms, following on from the likes of Cal Crutchlow, Valentino Rossi, Iannone (initially) and many will see this situation as Ducati pride getting in the way of flexibility.

Indeed, with Miller – almost the anti-Dovizioso with its brash attitude and hustling style – coming on board, Ducati had probably its best rider line-up for some time, on the one hand metronomic, the other exciting.

But with Dovizioso steering to glory on Sunday as Miller ceded second position on the final lap to Joan Mir, will they come to regret their decision.

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