Dovizioso "99 percent" certain to stay at Ducati

Jamie Klein

Disagreements over money caused talks between Dovizioso and Ducati to come to a standstill last month, in which time current Pramac rider Jack Miller was named as the factory squad's first confirmed rider for next year.

However, it appears all but certain that Dovizioso will stay on to partner Miller in 2021, with his manager Simone Battistella stating that things are heading in that direction.

"For me, it's 99 percent certain we will renew," Battistella told Gazzetta dello Sport. "First of all, we preferred to renegotiate the 2020 contract terms; with what happened [with the COVID-19 pandemic] it seemed the right thing to do to avoid tensions looking ahead to 2021.

"After a series of discussions, from what I understood at Ducati they were in favour of the agreement reached, but then there was nothing written.

"There were general indications about a possible offer on the new contract, but it's something that dates back to last month, before we tackled the 2020 issue."

Ducati recently indicated that it's in no hurry to finalise terms with Dovizioso, with team sporting director Paolo Ciabatti telling Sky Italia that the Borgo Panigale marque's preference would be to see how the opening races of the season go before making a decision.

"Perhaps the most logical thing would be to wait a few races so that everyone, both the rider and us, has a vision of how things are and make the best decision," said Ciabatti.

But Battistella made it clear he hopes an agreement can be reached before the start of the new season on July 19 at Jerez.

"I hope that the renewal will happen sooner," said Battistella. "In such a particular season we need maximum concentration and harmony.

"Then there can always be tensions, but that doesn't mean they are always necessarily negative, on the contrary. The important thing is to have the same goal."

Battistella also moved to dismiss speculation that Dovizioso could be mulling retirement.

"There are those who question his motivation, but he's super-motivated, he's trained a lot every day, he's in the best shape since I've known him," he said of the 34-year-old.

Dovizioso's only other realistic avenue to stay in MotoGP, KTM, was officially closed off earlier this week with the news that the Italian's current teammate Danilo Petrucci will be joining the satellite Tech 3 team for the 2021 season.

Battistella clarified that Dovizioso had been approached about a potential move to KTM but that talks did not progress very far.

"We even met, but it was a negotiation that was over quickly, because they could not meet our prerequisites," he said of the Austrian manufacturer.