Ducati considering five riders for 2021 MotoGP season

Lewis Duncan, Matteo Nugnes
Ducati considering five riders for MotoGP 2021

Ducati boss Paolo Ciabatti believes the Italian marque's 2021 MotoGP line-up will consist of either of its five contracted riders currently racing Desmosedicis.

Both Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci's contracts with the works Ducati squad are up at the end of the year, with the manufacturers' preferred options of Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo signing for Yamaha at the start of the year.

Ducati was also understood to have been keenly pursuing Joan Mir, though the 2017 Moto3 world champion is set to remain with Suzuki.

Speaking to Autosport, Ciabatti says its current works line-up, as well as Pramac's Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia, and Avintia's Johann Zarco - all of whom are currently directly contracted to Ducati - are the five riders it is looking at for 2021.

"We have a rider like Andrea Dovizioso, who has won the most races aside from [Marc] Marquez in recent years and is the only one who has tried to seriously challenge him for the world title," Ciabatti said.

"I don't think he's a rider who can or should [have his talent] challenged.

"It is true that a few days ago he turned 34, but it is an age that a fit rider allows you to look ahead two or three years no problem.

"We have Petrucci, who went very well in the test in Qatar.

"One of the reasons we were sorry that we could not race is precisely our belief that Danilo could have expressed himself at a high level.

"He was the only one to do a full race simulation [in the test] and did it with very quick laptimes.

Ducati considering five riders for MotoGP 2021

"We have Miller and Bagnaia at Pramac, who are two young riders and who are among the best talents there are today in MotoGP.

"Then there is Zarco with the GP19 at Avintia.

"He is a rider who has already proven to be fast when he was in the Tech3 team.

"So I would say we have five riders who have expiring contracts with Ducati, but who have a very close relationship with us.

"So we will reasonably look to them to understand what our 2021/22 set-up may be."

When asked if there were any talents in Moto2 Ducati were looking to promote, Ciabatti added: "We have been following some young Italians for a long time.

"Certainly, Enea Bastianini is a rider that we are following, even if in recent years he has not had the form that could be expected.

"[Lorenzo] Baldassarri last year had a spectacular start to the season, then got lost.

"This year, in the only race we have been able to see in Qatar, he did a great job.

"We always have an eye on Moto2 and Moto3, but I believe for 2021 and 2022 we will make choices among the riders that I mentioned, even if we haven't made any decisions yet."

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