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Ducati boss: Miller-Petrucci swap rumour is ‘bullshit’

Daniel Herrero

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Wednesday 20th November, 2019 - 8:27am

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Jack Miller pic: MotoGP.com

Ducati Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti has dismissed rumours of a swap of Pramac’s Jack Miller and factory rider Danilo Petrucci as ‘bullshit’.

Speculation about the switch has arisen in recent weeks, although Miller himself claimed post-race at Valencia that he had not heard from Ducati about such an idea.

When asked about the matter during Day 1 of the Valencia post-season test, Ciabatti told the television world feed, “Can I say something which might sound not so nice? Bullshit.

“We never thought about this. So, it came out, I think, in the paddock or somebody had this idea, but we never thought of making any changes to the factory team or to the Pramac team.”

Johann Zarco also became part of the rumour mill when he was variously tipped to go to the other Ducati team, Avintia, or to be placed at Pramac in a three-step move which would have seen Petrucci demoted to Avintia in order to make room for Miller at the factory team.

Despite the rebuttal regarding Petrucci and Miller for 2020, Zarco remains part of Ducati’s plans after Alex Marquez landed the Repsol Honda seat vacated by Jorge Lorenzo.

The Frenchman had been considered a contender for that Honda seat, but now could also end up back in Moto2 where he would fill the space left by the younger Marquez brother at Marc VDS.

“We had a conversation with Johann yesterday (Monday, local time) to understand what was his position,” explained Ciabatti.

“He has also an option to go back to Moto2 with (the) Marc VDS team, so I think we will understand more in the next few days.

“I think for the sake of knowing what to do next year, it’s good to make a decision pretty soon, but then we will do what we can do on our side and then it will be left to the team to take the further steps.”

Zarco had declared during the grand prix weekend at Valencia that “Avintia is not a top team” and that going there rather than Marc VDS’s Moto2 squad would be a “a mistake”.

Avintia subsequently had its deal with Ducati extended and upgraded, before its incumbents Tito Rabat and Karel Abraham took to the Valencia circuit for MotoGP post-season testing.

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