Confirming what everyone essentially already knew, Ducati Corse has announced that it has signed Andrea Dovizioso to its factory MotoGP team for the 2013 & 2014 seasons. Dovizioso will take the vacated seat of Valentino Rossi at Ducati Corse, a move that holds a bit of symmetry, since Rossi basically took Dovi’s planned spot at the factory Yamaha team just a few weeks ago.

Joining Nicky Hayden for at least next season, the American made it clear at the Indianapolis that both riders would auditioning for the #1 spot in the team this next season, though both are expected to aid in developing the Ducati Desmosedici into a more rideable race bike. Many suspect Ducati picked Dovizioso for his more traditional riding style, a sign the Italian company is now trying to mold its bike to the riders, and not the other way around.

Talking to Asphalt & Rubber after the Indy GP, Dovizoso explained an announcement would not come forth until all the clauses in the contract were understood — referring to the guarantees the Ducati has made to the young Italian about its development pace and rider-input acceptance. With Audi AG heavily involved in Ducati’s negotiations with Valentino Rossi, one can expect that Dovizioso wanted similar statements of support from the German automaker in regards to its Italian motorcycle racing team.

A bold move for Dovizioso, the Ducati Desmosedici is widely known in the MotoGP paddock to be a career killer, with Valentino Rossi’s scalp just the freshest from a long-line of victims in the sport. Realizing, perhaps too late, that it needs to change the direction of its program, Ducati’s CEO Gabriele del Torchio makes an interesting statement in the press release when he says that Ducati will work “to obtain the results and rewards that will repay our efforts and the faith that our partners, sponsors and fans have never failed to demonstrate.” The full press release is below:

Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati together beginning in 2013

Borgo Panigale (Bologna) 22 August 2012 – Ducati and Andrea Dovizioso have reached an agreement that will see the Italian wearing the colours of the Ducati Team in 2013 and 2014.

Andrea Dovizioso, who currently sits in fourth place overall in the MotoGP championship standings, will join Nicky Hayden on the team. The pair will face next season together, working on development of the Desmosedici and the MotoGP project for the championship in which Ducati has played an important role since 2003.

“The agreement reached with Andrea Dovizioso confirms the company’s primary interest in racing, which is an active and strategic part of Ducati’s DNA and heritage,” said President Gabriele Del Torchio. “It is with great pleasure that I welcome Andrea, as we marshal our best efforts in confronting the MotoGP World Championship. Along with Nicky Hayden, with whom we have renewed a working agreement, we are confident that we will be able to proceed with our development program, to compete, and to obtain the results and rewards that will repay our efforts and the faith that our partners, sponsors and fans have never failed to demonstrate.”

“Andrea’s technical sensibility and test-riding abilities are of great value, as are his talent and determination,” added Filippo Preziosi, General Manager of Ducati Corse. “The knowledge that we will have him on our team and be able to count on his collaboration serves as an additional incentive to continue with the growth and development of our MotoGP project. I’m pleased that he has chosen to be a part of our team. He is aware of the work to be done, and he approaches it with enthusiasm and confidence, which are fundamental requirements for achieving success and for competing in this challenging championship.”

Source: Ducati Corse; Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved

  • Dave

    This bike takes more time to develop, so someone has got to get it right eventually (insert hope). Best of luck to Dovi and Nicky.

  • Cpt.Slow

    Hope they can turn it around!

  • G.Irish

    Well, it depends on what Dovi’s goals are. I assume he wants to be world champ one day. If that is his goal, it is unlikely he will be able to do it riding a satellite Yamaha in 2013/2014.

    Currently the satellite M1 is a better bike than the GP12 so if he stayed at Tech3 he could potentially earn better results next season and be in good position to get a better factory ride in 2014. Problem with that is there are only 4 factory seats between Honda and Yamaha and none of them will be open in 2014.

    So if you’re Dovi and you want to win a title, the best chance of doing that is that Ducati gets it turned around and brings a contender to the grid. Because it is very unlikely that you are going to beat Lorenzo and Rossi to a title while on a satellite M1, not to mention Pedrosa and Marquez.

    Now if he wants to get the best results possible in the near future and not risk getting his career torpedoed, then maybe he should stay at Tech3.

  • Bold move from Dovi. However, it’s his best shot. The Tech3 bikes are very good, but they will always play second fiddle to the factory bikes. So, he will always be fighting just to get on the podium, let alone win races.

    So, he takes the gamble, and goes with Ducati. He has a shot of actually winning races then. The bike is bad now, but if they sort it out, he could be right at the top.

    It’s just a choice of whether he wants to have a small chance of winning, or a big chance of coming in 4th.

  • jeff

    Unlike the past two years, the team won’t be lightheaded next in the garage from lack of oxygen .

  • smiler

    Can u imagine how happy Audi will be if they do not sort it out? BMW will be laughing into their weisebeer.
    So I reckon it will take time that is why Rossi jumped but eventually they weill do it. If they have Audi backing then the need to roll whatever has been developed into the rest of the product line will disappear, thus speedoing up development.If they do not sort it out then MotoGP will suffer.

    As for Rossi he has taken another big risk. Hope it pays off, Hionda will certyainly not make it easy.

  • Bill

    Hmmm, how many podiums has he had this year…5? And the season’s not even over yet.

    I fear that he won’t get nearly as many next year on the Ducati. To me, the Ducati is just too much of a gamble & even threatens careers. It seems that only Stoner has had a good season on the Ducati.

  • Micahel

    I have always admired Dovi, I wish him the best with this move, I hope he can get some good results with the Duc!!

  • Steve Lang

    Good luck to them and I hope they can turn it around as well. I was hoping Bautista might be chosen by Ducati. I’ve always liked red bowling balls. Oh well……

  • @ Bill: Ducati was stellar in their early seasons with Capparossi. Stoner came in with an already developed bike in ’07 to win the championship. When they moved to the frameless garbage, that’s when you have to give stoner credit. However, he still count pull out a championship on that bike either. Dovi has to be looking @ 2014 to be comparative. Next year will be all development with Audi money. With Dovi and Nicky’s input this bike should be very good by the end of the season next year, and fighting for wins in 2014.

  • Westward

    The proposal of an expanded development effort by Ducati should speed up the process. with four factory bikes on the grid. Now that the factory team is sorted, what remains is the Pramac (Or whoever) team. One of the two spots should be with Spies in the saddle, the other could go to Redding.

    Personally, I would rather see Iannone remain in Motot2 and take the 2013 title, before replacing Hayden in 2014…

  • Good for Dovi hopefully between him and Hayden they can get the GP13-14 running up front soon!!

  • Westward, you’re dreaming if you think Spies will be in MotoGP next year, let alone on a Ducati. The Ducati “junior team” will almost certainly be comprised of only young riders, likely from Moto2.

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  • Beary

    Agree, it’s laughable to suggest Spies will take a sattelite version of the worst factory bike on the Grid, given Ducati’s recent testing with young riders like Redding and their plans for a Junior program.

    As reported widely already, expect Spies in WSBK with BMW, with a view to BMW’s plans to enter The Show around 2014/15.

    Ben will be 30 by then sure, but also maybe will have ditched his mommy, or Maybe the Germans will deal with overbearing Moms better than the Yamaha boys did :)

  • Jonathan

    Hmm, given that one of the reasons for Dovi’s success on race day is his ability to brake consistently late and still get the bike turned in with millimetre precision I can’t help wondering how he’ll fare with the Duke.

  • Spektre76

    Poor Dovi…………The kid has talent but talent is only 90% of the battle. That last 10% is the machine and sadly can make a 100% difference in your race outcome.

  • JoeKing

    The optimism expressed here is admirable but unrealistic. It almost sounds as hopeful as the BS the Presidential candidates spew.

    The sad reality is this is a marriage of convenience, Ducati gets an Italian & Dovi gets $$$. If Rossi with all the hopes & dreams of Italy failed, how can you possibly think someone who came up thru the same system (with FAR less success) will do better?

    The definition of insanity comes to mind.

  • Joey Wilson

    The question I have: In the light of the ongoing debacle of the Ducati MotoGP program, with Audi looking over their shoulder, are the Italians all just going to keep on saying ‘domani, domani’ and all be paisans, or . . . . are heads gonna roll?

    Say what you will along the lines of ‘well, Vale and JB aren’t so smart after all’, but in real terms, this was/is a huge failure.

    If you can’t keep a Stoner who walked away under a cloud of derisive suspicion, only to go to the RCV and unleash hell on the rest of the paddock, it ain’t the rider, and you couldn’t keep him. This is followed by the biggest name in the sport, coming ‘home’ ostensibly to an Italian team, a PR and sponsorship bonanza of the highest order, and he turns down 17 million Euros and all assurance from Audi, and you couldn’t keep him. And he’s walked to less money and a number two spot on his next team, and thrilled to do it. And if he suddenly comes back to speed on the Yamaha like Popeye with a can of spinach, guess what, it ain’t the rider.

    It’s that red sled.

    My guess is that some staff at Ducati are gonna have some ‘splainin’ to do’, and resumes are probably being printed as I write this. If not, I’m glad Nicky only signed a one-year deal, and it could be a l-o-n-g two for Dovioso.

    BTW, Get Well Soon, Nicky ! !

  • @ JoeKing: The Key is Audi involvement as has been mentioned ealier. They are also going to want to beat Rossi. So it’s not unrealistic at all to think perhaps Ducati can be competitive in 2014 if we see an increase in development in 2013. Optimistic? Sure. Insane? Don’t be rediculous.

  • Westward

    Lorenzo said something interesting at the pre race interviews @ Indianapolis. He stated that Yamaha does not have the distinction of first and second, both pilots get the same bike and the same materials.

    As for the Ducati effort, they said they are going to run their operation more like Yamaha’s, only they are going to be running four bike’s to pull data for development. I take that to mean the thing that will distinguish Pramac as a satellite team would be in name name only…

    I am fully aware of the rumours linking Spies to BMW in WSBK, but nothing has been official as of yet. Plus, there is a rumour that BMW wants to enter MotoGP with Melandri in 2014 too. Maybe with Spies also…

    However, if Ducati are going to essential run four factory bike’s, I could easily see either Spies or Crutchlow taking that challenge. Going forward, the man that succeeds where Rossi has not could be tempting to a pilot, now that Audi is involved. Their resources could be very influential.

    It my have worked for Rossi, if not for his personal need to win now. After two years with Yamaha, a tenth title, and the record for overall wins, I would not rule out a second attempt to tame the Ducati. Rossi has stated on more than one occasion that he wants to race longer than just two years, but that is only if he is still competitive within next couple of seasons…

    I think he is being coy, he knows he is capable, but the last two years has damaged his reputation, and that is what he wants to regain first…

    I know he will…

  • Mark

    @TylerMrK Spot on. Well said.

  • JoeKing


    Its about expected outcomes.

    Audi won’t be the first auto manufacturer to get involved in m/c racing..all prevoius co’s have failed. The body count @ Ducati I believe is about 21 who have had their careers negatively effected on MotoGP Ducati’s.

    Just because Audi has more resources & “wants to beat Rossi (what did he ever do to them?), there is a potential Audi’s involvement & coorporate “policies” may actually hurt Ducati’s program…ie baby with the bathwater.

    My point is why will Dovi’s signing change anything? Little known point…over the last 1-1/2 years Nicky has beaten VR (testing, practices, qualifing, races) MORE often than Rossi beat him..FACT. So why would anyone think that Dovi, who by EVERYONE’S opinion is less talented than Rossi, will improve Ducati’s results…only INSANE people would.

  • @ JoeKing: Dovi has a “more traditional” riding style. Something Ducati could be look g at to build a bike around riders. Not the other way around. Also Dovi has been brilliant on the “satellite” Yami. We don’t know how good Rossi is anymore. So comparing Rossi and Dovi at this point is just assinign. Most people merely hope Ducati gets their act together with Audi influence. Will it happen for sure!? No, but remember Dovi has clauses in his contract now too make sure Ducaudi is getting him quick development.

    So no one is insane for “expecting” Ducati to be competitive in the next couple years. All the signs are pointing that direction. Ducati just has to make all the right moves and keep their heads out of their collective rears to get it done. It is entirely possible.

  • Westward

    When Stoner won back in 2007, the bike was already sorted out by Capirossi. Stoner was only expected to ride it as best he can, and the best he can turned into a world championship. In 2011, again, the bike was sorted by Pedrosa this time, and again Stoner was rewarded with another title.

    However, whenever Stoner leads the development, the bike seems to go just a little bit backwards, and more so the longer he is held in that regard. There is no doubt that he is a great pilot, but I would not build a bike around him.

    Enter Dovizioso, the guy will have ridden the three major bikes in MotoGP, two of them to success. Ducati needs to develop a bike that anyone can ride. Dovi is the perfect candidate to do so.

    With Stoner and then Rossi, they learned the hard way. The attitude has changed, and now they will seemingly build the bike around the pilot, instead of finding a pilot to adapt to the bike.

    The influence of Audi will speed up the process of developing actual material. maybe now they can get new parts in weeks instead of months, as has been the case this past year and a half…

    There are too many factors and circumstances involved to equate Ducati/Audi with other superficial appearing efforts of the past…

  • Joey Wilson

    I, too, read JL’s comment that Yamaha sends the same bits to both factory riders. Uh-huh . . . . . well, when does he get HIS cracked frame, splintered swingarm, and . . . . oh yeah, he’s alrready got a fried motor or two.

    I wonder if they told him he better step it up several years ago when HE was crashing and not pressing Valentino.