Andrea Dovizioso signs two-year Ducati deal

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Andrea Dovizioso is the latest high profile MotoGP rider to stake his reputation on turning around Ducati’s fortunes in MotoGP after the Italian signed a two-year deal to join the Bologna factory.

The former world 125GP champion will leave the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad at the end of 2012 to join American Nicky Hayden on a factory Desmosedici GP13.

Dovizioso will fill the Ducati hot seat left by nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi and he secures the ride after Ducati abandoned plans to sign British rider Cal Crutchlow.

When Dovizioso left Repsol Honda at the end of 2011, he made it clear when joining the French-based Tech 3 squad that his aim was to secure a factory YZR-M1 slot next to Jorge Lorenzo in 2013.

Despite claiming five podiums in the last seven races, Yamaha has taken back former golden boy Rossi on a two-year deal, leaving Ducati as Dovizioso’s only factory option.

And by rolling the dice to take on the monumental challenge of helping Ducati challenge Yamaha and Ducati, he becomes the latest big name Italian rider to try and tame the finicky Desmosedici after Marco Melandri and Rossi were expensive flops.

Melandri left Ducati midway through a two-year contract after a hellish 2008 while Rossi too has floundered on the Desmosedici and he has only managed to score two podiums in 28 races.

Dovizioso recently told MCN he was not scared off by the failure of Rossi to deliver better results and in a statement released earlier, Ducati President Gabriele del Torchio said; “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.”

And Ducati Corse’s General Manager Filippo Preziosi added: “Andrea’s technical sensibility and test-riding abilities are of great value, as are his talent and determination. 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.”

Ducati’s decision to turn its attention to Dovizioso after initially appearing gung-ho to sign Crutchlow has seen the Bologna factory come in for scathing criticism from the 2009 World Supersport champion.

Speaking in today’s Motor Cycle News, Crutchlow said: “I sat down with them in Assen and everything was agreed and they said I would have a contract the week after and I’ve seen nothing. Everything was in place but they never sent a contract. It is disappointing but I am not the only one to be messed around.”

Mattew Birt

By Mattew Birt