As Pecco Bagnaia let slip at Barcelona on Sunday night, Ducati today announced their rider line up for the 2021 season, in both the factory team and the Pramac squad.
As expected, there were no surprises: Pecco Bagnaia gets a promotion to the factory team alongside Jack Miller, while Johann Zarco is promoted to the Pramac team, where he will be partnered with current Moto2 rider Jorge Martin.
Bagnaia had been expected to get the nod over Zarco after a string of strong performances since his return from injury.
It had been clear that the Italian had made a big step forward during testing and at the first two races at Jerez, his march stymied only by a crash at Brno in which he broke his leg.
Though Zarco had been strong at Brno, grabbing pole and a podium, since then, his star has waned a little. The announcement of Jorge Martin had been widely trailed, going as far back as the Jerez tests.
Martin had been expected to move up to MotoGP with KTM, as Martin has raced with KTM in both Moto3 and Moto2, but Ducati’s policy of aggressively chasing young talent secured Martin’s services early on.
That he had signed for Ducati was an open secret, merely awaiting official confirmation.
All four riders will race the latest spec of Ducati Desmosedici, the GP21. However, the cost-cutting measures agreed to address the Covid-19 pandemic means that engines and aerodynamic packages will remain frozen for the start of the 2021 season, meaning that the only differences between a GP20 and a GP21 will be in the chassis.
As for contract length, Ducati is running on two different tracks. The more experienced talent – Jack Miller and Johann Zarco – are on ‘prove it’ 1+1 contracts, with a contract for 2021 and an option for 2022.
The two youngsters, Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin, have two-year contracts through 2022.
The Ducati press release makes no mention of Avintia. At Misano, Enea Bastianini told MotoGP.com that he had signed for Ducati, and he is expected to take the seat vacated by Johann Zarco.
The second seat belongs to Tito Rabat contractually, but Rabat has struggled since his crash at Silverstone in 2018, and has pondered making a switch to a role as a rider coach.
If he decides to step away from racing, then his place could be taken by Luca Marini, the Sky VR46 rider currently leading the Moto2 championship.
Source: Ducati Corse