There’s good news for fans of Italian riders and motorcycles, as Andrea Dovizioso signs with Ducati MotoGP until 2020. The news was announced following first qualifying at the French Grand Prix round in Le Mans. And Dovizioso will also be a good mood as he’s currently in provisional pole for the race on Sunday, May 20th.
The 32-year-old rider came close to taking his first MotoGP title in 2017, with six wins and a further two podium finishes putting him close behind eventual champion Marc Marquez after the final race of the season at Valencia. And Dovizioso has already taken victory at the first round of the 2018 championship in Qatar.
Dovizioso is already the longest-serving Ducati rider in MotoGP since the manufacturer returned to top flight GP racing in 2003. 2018 is his sixth season with the team since joining in 2013 as a replacement for the departing Valentino Rossi, and to partner Nicky Hayden. He’s since been teamed with Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Iannone, and currently Jorge Lorenzo, whose own future isn’t confirmed as yet.
Dovizioso started racing in Italy, winning the 125cc Italian Aprilia Challenge in 2000, and the 125cc European Championship in 2001. After a wildcard ride at Mugello that year, he moved to the 125cc GP championship full-time in 2002 at the age of 16, and became champion in 2004.
Oddly enough, the 2004 125cc championship saw him beat riders including future Ducati MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner, and current team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. The MotoGP champion that year? Valentino Rossi, on his first year at Yamaha.
Dovizioso spent 3 years in the 250cc world championship, finishing 3rd in 2005, and 2nd in both 2006 and 2007. Both of his runner-up spots in the championship were behind Jorge Lorenzo. He moved to MotoGP in 2008, and was signed by Ducati in 2013.
Having previously raced for both Honda and the Tech 3 Yamaha team, Dovizioso did speak to both Honda and Suzuki before deciding to sign with Ducati until 2020. Currently there’s no official confirmation as to the name of his team-mate for 2019. Jorge Lorenzo is apparently considering a switch to Suzuki for 2019, with either of the Pramac Ducati team-mates Jack Miller or Danilo Petrucci set to potentially replace him.
“Today was a really great day for us, because we announced that the marriage with Ducati will continue for the next two years. I believe that together we have done a fantastic job so far, but it’s not enough: we want more and I’m happy that we have reached a deal that allows us to work with peace of mind to obtain better results. We’ve got two and a half seasons ahead of us, all the time we need to try and bring home the world title, which is our aim. I’m very pleased with the support that I have received from many people over the last few days: I could never have imagined staying so many years in Ducati, and ours is really a great story.” said Dovizioso.
Who do you think should partner Andrea Dovizioso for the next two years at Ducati? Do you think Lorenzo should stay? Or would you rather see Petrucci or Miller take his place? Or do you have a completely different suggestion for the Ducati team?