Bagnaia promoted to Ducati's factory team as Dovizioso's replacement

By Peter Hanson 30 September 2020 14
Bagnaia promoted to Ducati's factory team as Dovizioso's replacement

Francesco Bagnaia has been chosen as Andrea Dovizioso's replacement for Ducati's factory team in the 2021 MotoGP season.

The Italian will link up with current Pramac Racing team-mate Jack Miller in an exciting factory line-up, with Dovizioso having announced in Austria last month he would not remain with Ducati beyond 2020.

Bagnaia has enjoyed an impressive campaign thus far, with only a mechanical issue denying him a maiden podium in Jerez.

A fractured leg sustained during the Czech Republic Grand Prix weekend meant he missed three races but he returned with a fantastic second-place finish at Misano and only an untimely crash prevented him winning at the same venue a week later.

"I chose to be a Ducati rider even before becoming the Moto2 World Champion in 2018 and they chose me even before knowing that one day I would become one," Bagnaia said. 

"This was our bet, because up until that moment I had always been a fast rider, but I didn't have anything concrete in my pocket: Ducati decided to believe it even before everyone else. We didn't know how it was going to go, but to date, if I had to go back, I'd do it all over again.

"My MotoGP debut was complicated, but at Ducati they never questioned me: they gave me all the support and trust a rookie needs and they let me experience in 2019. 

"I listened to them, I trusted them, together we learned to know and understand each other, and now we form a great team. 

"They taught me a working method that allowed us to take away some great satisfaction and I think this is just the beginning. 

"Today I am the happiest person in the world, for me it is a dream come true: being an official Ducati rider has always been my ambition and I have succeeded together with all those who have always believed in me even when things did not go right."

Johann Zarco had been another linked to the ride but he will instead join Pramac as a works rider, while retired three-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo had put himself in the frame.

Miller was already known to be making the step up to the factory set up with Danilo Petrucci joining the KTM Tech 3 team.

The future of Dovizioso, who led the riders' standings prior to a poor weekend at the Catalan Grand Prix, remains unknown although he has been linked with a switch to Aprilia.

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