Andrea Dovizioso believes Ducati will not make its choice between last start race winner Danilo Petrucci or Jack Miller for the unspoken-for 2020 factory ride anytime ‘soon’.
Last weekend’s sixth round of the MotoGP season saw Petrucci break through for his first grand prix victory as Miller, the Italian’s former team-mate at the satellite Pramac Racing team, crashed his own Ducati while trying to catch back up to the lead pack.
The Italian MotoGP result, as well as that of the French MotoGP a fortnight earlier when Petrucci edged Miller to the final step of the podium, might have seemed decisive in the make-up of the Mission Winnow Ducati team for next year.
Miller could have as little as one more chance to impress with Pramac Team Manager Francesco Guidotti having said that Ducati would not make a decision, which could also force his own hand, on its factory riders until after the next round in Barcelona, on June 14-16.
Dovizioso, however, believes that Ducati management is not in any rush to decide who his team-mate shall be next year.
“From what I know, I don’t think the contract will be decided soon,” he said.
“I think Ducati are in the situation (where) they can wait.
“I don’t think they will decide now, but for sure this race (Italian MotoGP) will affect a lot.”
While Dovizioso, like every other factory rider on the grid, is presently in the first season of a two-year contract, both Petrucci and Miller are only on one-year deals.
Despite Miller’s currently team-mate, 2018 Moto2 champion Francesco Bagnaia, being in the frame earlier in the year, the second seat in the Bologna factory team is now a two-horse race, as reaffirmed by Guidotti last weekend.
Miller has made no secret of his desire to secure a promotion for next year, particularly when he appeared to have the edge on Petrucci, but in the lead-up to the Italy round said he was “not stressed” about whether he would stay at Pramac or move up to the factory team.
As long as Miller is signed by either the factory team or Pramac for 2020, outcomes which are collectively near-certain, he would at least continue to ride a current-specification Desmosedici.
Bagnaia, who is currently on the GP18, is contractually entitled to a GP20 next year but Guidotti stated at Mugello that “in the case of Jack he will have a 2020 bike because I don’t see any other way to make him happy.”
Petrucci is currently fourth in the championship on 82 points and Miller sixth on 42 points after six rounds of 19 this season.