Speaking to motogp.com pitlane reporter Simon Crafar on Saturday at the BMW M Grand Prix of Styria, Ducati Corse Sporting Director confirmed that the Bologna factory will decide who will partner Jack Miller in the factory Ducati Team in 2021 “before Misano.”
Speculation as to who will be Miller’s teammate next season has exploded after Andrea Dovizioso confirmed he won’t be signing a new contract with Ducati beyond 2020. Now, it seems there are two candidates to take the Italian’s place: Pramac Racing’s Francesco Bagnaia – currently side-lined through injury – and Esponsorama Racing’s Johann Zarco.
Chatting to Crafar during MotoGP™ FP4, Ciabatti confirmed Ducati and Bagnaia have agreed a new two-year deal. Ciabatti also said that Zarco will also be continuing with Ducati in 2021. However, Ciabatti affirmed that he and Ducati are still deciding who to put in the factory team.
“Yeah, it’s true we agreed a deal with Pecco for two years. It’s too early to say if it’s with Pramac or the factory team. We also continue with Johann Zarco and will make up our minds just before Misano.”
In addition to the hype around Dovizioso’s vacant seat in factory red, Ducati are involved in plenty of talk surrounding a couple of Italians leading the Moto2™ World Championship – Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team).
“Yeah as you know there is another Moto2 rider that is of interest to us, but we cannot mention at the moment, but for sure, both Enea and Luca are doing well,” commented Ciabatti. “We are considering the possibility of another Moto2 rider joining Ducati for the coming season. I think again we will probably make a decision in the coming weeks and the target is to make an announcement just before Misano so that then the rider line-up for Ducati 2021 will be clear.”
Red Bull KTM Ajo's Jorge Martin has long been linked with a Pramac Racing ride for 2021 too. The 2021 Ducati line-up really is a puzzle at the minute, but it appears we'll have all the pieces in place ahead of the doubleheader at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, which kicks off on Friday the 11th of September.