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2020 is a huge year for the Bologna factory. Marc Marquez and Repsol Honda Team have been unstoppable in 2019 and, so desperate for their first riders title since Casey Stoner’s 2007 heroics, have they got four riders who are able to take it to Marquez in the forthcoming season?
In 15 mins: Australian Grand Prix MotoGP™ highlights
In Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) they have a rider who knows how to beat the number 93, and run the Spaniard all the way to the final round of the season. 2017 was an incredible year for the Italian and Ducati but 2018 and 2019 title challenges haven’t quite materialised. Why? Marquez’ seriously scary consistency is the main reason why the eight-time Champion seems to be a step ahead – but he can be beaten. The 100 GP podium finisher should never be doubted and despite an "up and down" season, P2 in the overall standings is his for the third consecutive year. Dovizioso is Marquez' biggest threat and if Ducati produce the goods, odds will be short on Dovizioso going one better in 2020.
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) is one rider to beat Marquez this season. The Italian’s dreams came true at Mugello as he won on home soil but it hasn’t been a straight-forward maiden factory Ducati campaign. A magnificent top six run from Qatar to Germany, including two podiums and that Italian GP victory, is an indication that Petrucci can be a regular podium contender. A difficult second half to 2019 shouldn’t dent what the charismatic Italian showed in the opening nine races. A GP20 that Petrucci gets along with is sure to be a powerful pairing.
Petrucci - Quartararo crash: all angles, all reactions
And then we have Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller. The Australian has really come of age in 2019 with four rostrum finishes on the GP19, which only radiates positivity ahead of a huge 2020 season. Miller will be eying a factory Ducati seat for 2021 which will only motivate him further – not that he’ll need it – to push for regular podiums and victories. Factory equipment, bubbling confidence and a little added dose of motivation should see Miller hit 2020 with a bang.
Miller’s teammate Francesco Bagnaia has had a difficult rookie season on the Pramac Racing Ducati, but the Australian GP was a turning point. A phenomenal fightback from P15 to a season-best P4 – losing out on a podium by just 0.055 – was a reminder that ‘Pecco’, with more laps and experience under his belt, will be a serious threat in the not too distant future. You don’t fluke winning the Moto2™ World Championship and the Italian will also have the GP20 at his disposal for next season, giving him identical equipment to the other three, more experienced Desmosedici troops. Likewise to Miller, if Bagnaia has a strong start to the 2020 campaign, there’s no reason why Ducati won’t bring in one of Italy’s brightest prospects into the factory setup for 2021.
On the podium at home: "I've always wanted to do this!"
Four fast riders, four 2020 spec bikes on track, one dream Ducati recipe for success. According to Ducati Corse General Manager Gigi Dall’Igna, that Bologna-born recipe will include a “brand-new” Ducati to the Valencia Test in November. In recent years the Italian giants have been Honda and Marquez’ main threat. No doubt they’ll be aiming to be the biggest threat they’ve ever been in the premier class.
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