Danilo Petrucci is set to lose his place at the factory team to the “pet project” of Ducati’s motorsport boss in Jack Miller, according to the incumbent’s own manager.
Miller appears likely to be called up from Pramac Racing to one of the factory Ducati Team seats for the 2021 and 2022 MotoGP seasons, although there is no confirmation yet.
However, factory team manager Davide Tardozzi confirmed Pramac team manager Francesco Guidotti’s stated suspicions in recent days that a promotion is “very close” for the Australian, who is already directly contacted to the Bologna marque.
No seat at the Ducati Team has yet been formally filled beyond 2020 but Petrucci will effectively lose his ride to Miller, according to the former’s manager, Alberto Vergani.
While Petrucci won on a factory entry at Mugello last year, the current Pramac pilot is said to be a “pet project” of Ducati Corse General Manager Gigi Dall’Igna.
“Danilo is currently out of the Ducati project in MotoGP,” Vergani told Italian outlet GPOne.com.
“Ducati has decided to focus on a rider like Miller, who has long been a pet project for Dall’Igna and for Danilo there is no place in the factory team.
“It is very strange, given that he won at Mugello last year in front of (current team-mate Andrea) Dovizioso and (eventual champion Marc) Marquez; he also always worked hard putting his head down to get certain results.”
Petrucci fell into a form slump in the latter half of the 2019 season as Miller’s results continued to improve, and there has not yet been racing this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vergani claims that “the market was decided on the basis of the second part of last season”, when there were already rumours of a switch of the former team-mates.
Despite speculation that Dovizioso will defect to KTM, Vergani put possibility that the runner-up of the last three MotoGP seasons remains at the Ducati Team at “99 percent”.