until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Bagnaia gets works ride as Ducati firms up three 2021 seats

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Pramac Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia will step up to the factory Ducati team in 2021, replacing Andrea Dovizioso in the works set-up.

Bagnaia will partner his current Pramac team-mate Jack Miller in an all-new factory line-up, as Ducati opted not to renew Danilo Petrucci’s deal – leading to him signing with Tech3 KTM – while Dovizioso walked away from negotiations to extend his deal beyond the current eighth season.

The 2018 Moto2 champion, Bagnaia underwhelmed in his first season in the premier class last year but has been a standout in the Ducati camp in 2020, looking most at ease with the 2020 version of the Desmosedici and the new Michelin rear tyre that has stymied Dovizioso and Petrucci.

Robbed of a maiden podium at Jerez by an engine failure, he made sure of the milestone at Misano and then was on course to win the second race of the double-header before crashing out of the final stages.

Ducati announced Bagnaia’s expected promotion on social media on Wednesday, and has only confirmed him for 2021 so far, instead of the two years normally given to a works rider.

While Dovizioso has been on two-year deals, Ducati previously gave Petrucci a one-year deal for 2019 but duly re-signed him for a second year. Miller’s announcement earlier this year indicated he will be on a one-year deal with an option of a second year.


Bagnaia wrote on social media: “I chose to be a Ducati rider even before I was Mtoo2 world champion in 2018 and they chose me even before they knew that I would one day become one.

“Until that moment I had always been a fast rider, but I had nothing concrete in my pocket. But Ducati believed it.

“My debut in MotoGP was complicated but at Ducati they never questioned me. They gave me all the support and confidence that a rookie needs and let me gain experience in 2019.

“Today I’m the happiest person in the world, for me it’s a dream come true: being an official Ducati rider has always been my ambition.

“I give my special thanks to [CEO] Claudio Domenicali, [tech chief] Gigi Dall’Igna, [sporting director] Paolo Ciabatti and [team manager] Davide Tardozzi for their trust, to the Pramac Racing Team that welcomed me as a family and to the VR46 Academy that has always supported me all these years.”

Bagnaia’s announcement paves the way for Johann Zarco to step up from Avintia to Pramac. Zarco will be joined at the team by Moto2 star Jorge Martin, whose signing from KTM has finally been confirmed by Ducati.

“All four official riders will ride the latest version of the Desmosedici GP bikes with same technical specifications,” Ducati’s statement said.

There were no announcements regarding the other Ducatis on the grid – the year-old bikes run by Avintia/Esponsorama.

Enea Bastianini is believed to have one of the two Avintia 2021 rides in the bag, but there remains uncertainty over who will take the second seat, with Tito Rabat under contract but Luca Marini making a strong case for a promotion in Moto2 this year.

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