Since Johann Zarco signed with KTM, now the heart of the negotiations for 2019 is Andrea Dovizioso. Many Italian journalists say that he’s almost renewed with Ducati, but actually the situation is different: the rider from Forlì is in the wishlist of HRC Honda and Dovizioso, if Honda managed to sign him, would form a dream team together with Marc Marquez.
BOSS – Ducati is trying to close the negotiations with Dovizioso as soon as possible, since they don’t want their main competitor to “steal” him. At Jerez we’ll see Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali together with Riccardo Parino, the vice-president of Phillip Morris (sponsoring Ducati in MotoGP). Dovizioso’s manager, Simone Battistella, sent the first proposal back to the sender and now he’s still negotiating with Ducati about the salary, since there’s a gap of two million euros between demand and offer.
NO BLUFF – Honda’s interest makes Dovizioso even more able to ask for a higher salary and Davide Tardozzi knows it’s no bluff. “It’s rewarding for us to see that other manufacturers are interested in Andrea, because it proves we have a talented and wanted rider. Currently everybody speaks with everybody, it’s normal. We know Honda is interested in him, he told us about it. Our relations are very open. Honda worked with Andrea for three years, they know he gives a big contribution in the development of the bike. He’s not just fast, but he’s also a rider able to make a motorcycle progress. If Márquez says he wants a fast team-mate, Andrea would be the best choice for them”.
COMEBACK – Dovi would come back to Repsol Honda after the experience had from 2009 and 2011, when he won just once (2009 Donington Park GP). “We aim for closing the negotiations with Andrea – said Tardozzi – “and we will not consider any other option, till we have nothing certain. If we didn’t manage to renew with him, the most likely solution would be to take Danilo Petrucci or Jack Miller to the factory team.” Both Petrucci and Miller, currently racing with Pramac Ducati, are directly bound to Ducati Corse.