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As we look to the second race of the 2018 MotoGP™ season, speculation is already building over where Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso will be this time next year.
Dovi talks contracts: "When I have an offer, we'll see."
The Italian rider and current Championship leader filled Valentino Rossi’s shoes at Ducati in 2013 when he moved to the Borgo Panigale factory from Yamaha Tech 3 after just one season. Despite a more difficult start getting to grips with the Ducati bike, Dovizioso took his first podium with the marque in Austin in 2014. Since then, 'DesmoDovi' has been a key figure in the development and progress of the Desmosedici and the team, earning them second place in the Championship last year and taking 50% of the wins since Mugello.
#ArgentinaGP: Watch Thursday's Press Conference in full
Speaking ahead of the Argentina GP in Termas de Rio Honda this weekend, it’s clear that the Italian is focused on the season ahead, especially after taking the win at Losail. “I had a bad start and I had to recover and then battle Marc; it was important to take victory like that. Then the last week was very good and I was able to train and relax, and focus for the rest of the Championship.”
After the success of last year and such a strong start in 2018, Dovizioso begins the season as a named contender for the first time. And the changed fortunes for the number 04 take on even more significance at the moment as contract season gets in gear, but when asked about his situation, the Italian kept it short: “When I have the proposal, I will see.”
To shed a little more light on the situation, Ducati Team Manager Davide Tardozzi explains what's going on.
“We’ve already start having negotiations with Andrea’s manager and we are pretty confident that will finalize soon," says Tardozzi. "Soon doesn’t mean one or two days, but we are really talking about the details."
After such a impressive season last year, and a strong start to 2018, can we really expect to see Andrea Dovizioso racing with anyone else?
Ducati Corse General Manager Luigi Dall'Igna, meanwhile, told motorsport.es that it's possible - but that negotiations to keep the Italian are in full swing.