Fransesco Bagnaia will be joining Jack Miller who is his current teammate at Pramac, at the Ducatti factory team for the 2021 MotoGP season. Bagnaia will be replacing Andrea Dovizioso for a year-long deal.
Bagnaia has been in a race with Avintia’s Johann Zarco to secure the vacant Ducatti seat, after Dovizioso announced that he will be leaving the team at the Austrian MotoGP which was held last month. He is the 2018 winner of the Moto2 grand prix and has been impressing for the Ducatti satellite team, Pramac in this year’s MotoGP. 2019 was his debut year in the MotoGP series although he didn’t make his first appearance at the Andalucian MotoGP at Jerez after suffering an engine failure while he was running second in the final laps of the race.
Bagnaia had also missed three races after he sustained a knee injury in the first practice for the Czech MotoGP, but he would later return and secure his first podium at the San Marino MotoGP. He would also dominate the Emilia Romagna MotoGP which followed the San Marino GP, but experienced a crash later on in the race.
Ducatti had been making preliminary talks with the 2017 and 2018 rider Jorge Lorenzo but they later made it clear that they would be putting their main focus on hiring a young rider to complete their 2021 riders line-up. Bagnaia was the top choice for the spot over Johann Zarco, as his recent strong performance in MotoGP was very impressive.
“My MotoGP debut was not easy, but at Ducati, they never questioned me: they gave me all the support and confidence that a rookie needs and they let me do experience in 2019,” said Francesco Bagnaia.
“I listened to them, I trusted them, together we learned to know each other and understand each other, and now we form a great team.
“They taught me a method of work that allowed us to take away some nice satisfactions and I think that’s 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 succeeded together with all of those who had always believed in me even when things did not go well.”
Johann Zarco, who had secured an impressive pole position and podium finnish on the Czech GP, riding on the 2019 based bike was also considered though as he secures one of the vacant seats at Pramac, and will be riding a new fully factory supported Ducatti Desmosedici GP21 for the next season. Joining him at Pramac will be current Moto2 KTM rider Jorge Martin , who is the 2017 Moto3 champion as he chose to leave the Austrian manufacturer to join Ducatti to chase his dream to race in the top class of motorbike racing.
“Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia have shown this year that they can take advantage of the potential of our Desmosedici GP bike and have earned this opportunity,” added Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali.
“Their transition to the official team from the Pramac Racing Team, where they both grew up, is proof of the efficient collaboration that binds us to the team of Paolo Campinoti, which I would like to thank.
“I am sure that next year his team will be able to make the most of the talent of the two new riders Johann Zarco and Jorge Martín.”
Enea Bastianini-who is battling for the ’20 Moto2 championship-looks to be heading to Avintia to replace Zarco, most likely on a GP20 after he confirmed several weeks ago that he had secured a move into the premier class with Ducati.
His team-mate looks to be between either the incumbent Esteve Rabat-who has first dibs on the seat due to the funding he brings to the team-or intermediate class points leader Luca Marini, who has reportedly held talks with both Avintia and Ducati alongside half-brother Valentino Rossi.