Jerez worsened the situation at Ducati. The atmosphere was already nervous because of negotiations with Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo for 2019 and the crash which involved both riders in Spain made nervousness increase. Lorenzo and Dovizioso could stay or leave (Dovizioso would join Honda, Lorenzo Suzuki). “We will solve it, sooner or later”, said the rider from Forlì. “I can only say that I wish we weren’t in this situation. In any case, we all have to make a choice”.
7 MILLION: TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT – The negotiations with Dovizioso are a bit easier to close. The 2017 MotoGP runner-up rejected the first proposal (5 million euros) and the second one (6 million) and it looks like he really doesn’t want less than 7 million. Ducati is trying to convince him to accept a little lower salary, but if there is no agreement, the two parties could split. Ducati’s plans B and C are presented by the comeback of Andrea Iannone or Cal Crutchlow, but Danilo Petrucci is in the short list as well. Here’s what Petrucci said during an interview with Italian Radio 24: “We’re negotiating for the next seasons. I was told they have a problem with Dovizioso. He represents their priority, but an agreement is far from being found. I don’t know why, but maybe it’s about the salary”. No maybe: in 2016 Dovizioso accepted a decrease of his salary because of Lorenzo, but now it’s time for a revenge.
MAY MONSTER LEAD LORENZO TO SUZUKI? – If the negotiations with Dovizioso are more difficult than expected, those with Lorenzo are even more tricky and the final result is even more unpredictable. The Spaniard was far from switching to Suzuki due to economical reasons, till some weeks ago, but now the rumour mill in Spain says the opposite. From 2019 Monster Energy will part ways with Tech3 Racing, team with which the energy-drink giant debuted in MotoGP in 2009. The reason why it happens is the team’s switch to KTM, whose main sponsor is Red Bull. The brand will keep sponsoring many riders and Yamaha Factory, but Monster will lose much visibility. This gives rise to a probable partnership between Monster and Suzuki, that would make the manufacturer based in Hamamatsu able to sign Jorge Lorenzo, who would share the pits with his compatriot Alex Rins. Not impossibile, since in 2017 Monster had a 3.4-billion turnover, including net profits of 820 million (712 in 2016). Moreover, the three podium finishes scored so far in 2018 with Iannone (Austin and Jerez) and Rins (Terma de Río Hondo) prove that the GSX-RR can be one to beat next year, if they manage to build a solid basis during this season.