Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Contract Extension
When the Jorge Lorenzo / Ducati contract was confirmed, speculation immediately began on who would remain from the current official factory team – Andrea Dovizioso or Andrea Iannone.
Paddock chatter rumored it was down to which MotoGP pilot would perform best this season ahead of the decision, which was expected ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. To date, both riders suffered three DNFs in five rounds, and both earned a single podium – Dovi second at the 2016 MotoGP season opener in Qatar and Iannone third at Circuit of the Americas in Texas.
With results so far this season this close, one must take a deeper look. Both Andreas joined Ducati Team in 2013, but Dovi had the upper hand considering his overall finishes of eighth (2013), seventh (2014) and seventh compared to Iannone’s 12th, 10th and fifth, respectively.
Dovizioso’s slight edge in results may have resulted in Ducati’s decision Tuesday to extend the 30-year-old’s contract for the next two years. The 2004 Champion of the former 125cc class (Honda) is now confirmed to pilot the other Desmosedici alongside three-time MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo, who joined Ducati after eight years aboard the factory Yamaha YZR-M1.
“I am very satisfied to have reached this agreement with Ducati and to be able to continue the adventure begun back with them in 2013. In the last few years we have worked with a lot of commitment and we have succeeded in taking the Desmosedici GP to an excellent competitive level, and so I am convinced that soon we will obtain the satisfaction that we deserve,” Dovizioso says.
Dovi competed on Honda RC212V machinery through 2011, earning a best overall season finish of third. Dovizioso spent the 2012 MotoGP season aboard the Monster Tech3 Yamaha, finishing fourth overall, before joining Ducati in 2013.
Dovi has never earned a win with Ducati – the last victory came at the 2010 Australian Grand Prix with Casey Stoner – but has finished on the podium eight times, including five runner-ups.
With Dovi signed, this leaves Iannone without a contract.
“Obviously I am sorry that my time with Ducati will draw to a close at the end of this season, but I am grateful to the Bologna manufacturer for the opportunity it has given me in the last few years,” Iannone says.
“I made my MotoGP debut with Ducati and I have grown up with them, always succeeding in improving my level of performance. In the remaining races I will give my all, as I always do, because I am convinced that thanks to the competitiveness of the Desmosedici GP we can achieve some great results.”
Ducati Corse General Manager Luigi Dall’Igna says: “It’s never easy to take a decision like this one, especially when you have two great riders like the two Andreas in your team. We are very happy that Dovizioso has agreed to stay with us for the next two years, and together with him we can continue the successful work we began four years ago in order to reach the ambitious aims we have set for ourselves.
“We are sorry for Andrea Iannone, who at the end of the season will no longer be a part of the team. Andrea has carried out an important job in these years and has made a significant contribution to the development of the Ducati Desmosedici GP. For this reason we would like to thank him and we will provide him with our maximum commitment in the next rounds of the championship, in order to obtain the prestigious results that are for sure within his reach.”
Photos by Luciano Bianchetto