Francesco Bagnaia has been confirmed to join Ducati Corse for 2021 MotoGP team as Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin are confirmed at Pramac Racing.
Having confirmed Jack Miller weeks ago, Ducati has announced Bagnaia as his teammate in the factory team for the 2021 MotoGP season, as the duo stick together for the third year in the running, after spending two seasons together at Pramac.
The Italian was a front-runner to get the nod with only Zarco the one to challenge him. His performances in the last few MotoGP races, despite carrying an injury, made the difference eventually. He replaces Andrea Dovizioso, who confirmed his exit weeks ago.
The Italian is yet to confirm his move with reports linking him to Aprilia, who are the only team yet to firm their second rider alongside Aleix Espargaro. It will be an all-new line-up, meanwhile, at Ducati with Danilo Petrucci switching to Tech 3 KTM.
This also means that Pramac will have an all-new line-up as well, with Zarco switching from Avintia as his teammate will be Moto2 front-runner Martin, who confirmed his deal with Ducati for MotoGP step last weekend at Misano but did not reveal the team then.
Interestingly, both Zarco and Martin will ride the latest Desmosedici GP, with no one-year old bike for the MotoGP rookie. Speaking on the move to Ducati, Bagnaia said: “I chose to be a Ducati rider even before becoming the Moto2 World Champion in 2018 and they chose me even before knowing that one day I would become one.
“This was our bet, because up until that moment I had always been a fast rider, but I didn’t have anything concrete in my pocket: Ducati decided to believe it even before everyone else. We didn’t know how it was going to go, but to date, if I had to go back, I’d do it all over again. My MotoGP debut was complicated, but at Ducati they never questioned me: they gave me all the support and trust a rookie needs and they let me experience in 2019.
“I listened to them, I trusted them, together we learned to know and understand each other, and now we form a great team. They taught me a working method that allowed us to take away some great satisfaction and I think this is just the beginning. Today I am the happiest person in the world, for me it is a dream come true: being an official Ducati rider has always been my ambition.
“I have succeeded together with all those who have always believed in me even when things did not go right. best of ways. Special thanks to Claudio Domenicali, Gigi Dall’Igna, Paolo Ciabatti and Davide Tardozzi for their trust, to the Pramac Racing Team who welcomed me like a family and to the VR46 Riders Academy which has always supported me over the years.”
Upon the announcements, Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding said: “Racing is an evolving advanced technology incubator that is a fundamental part of our company. It is essential to continue to invest in research and development and not to be afraid to innovate and renew to be successful.
“That’s why I am thrilled with the inclusion of young and talented riders who make us look to the future with optimism and a constant desire to improve. Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia have shown this year that they can take advantage of the potential of our Desmosedici GP bike and have earned this opportunity.
“Their transition to the official team from the Pramac Racing Team, where they both grew up, is proof of the efficient collaboration that binds us to the team of Paolo Campinoti, which I would like to thank. I am sure that next year his team will be able to make the most of the talent of the two new riders Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin.
“Now, however, we are focused on the current season, because we want to get the best possible results with our two riders: Andrea, who in these eight years with us has been runner up in the World Championship for three consecutive years, won 14 GPs, thus becoming the most successful Ducati rider after Stoner, and is still in the fight for the world title this year and Danilo. Danilo, who is working hard to get back to fighting for the podium. Together with them, we will do everything to conclude our beautiful adventure together.”
Meanwhile, Paolo Campinoti, Pramac Racing Team Owner stated: “We are happy to have reached the agreement with Johann and Jorge. We want to continue an important project that is giving us great satisfaction. The sporting qualities and the winning mentality of the two riders are extremely well known: expectations are therefore high. We know Johann well and we have a very positive feeling with him: the same will be with Jorge.”