Andrea Iannone never looked to quit Ducati

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Andrea Iannone reckons he’d have been ‘stupid’ to quit Ducati just when the Bologna factory is embarking on a radical re-design of its struggling Desmosedici machine.

The Italian has been promoted to Ducati’s official factory squad for this season after Cal Crutchlow’s shock U-turn to quit and join LCR Honda, just days after committing his future to a Desmosedici last summer.

Had Crutchlow stayed with Ducati, Iannone would have been left in the satellite Pramac squad for a third successive season, though he would have had full factory support having penned a new two-year deal.

Iannone spoke to Suzuki and LCR Honda about a 2015 deal, but he said his dream was always to remain with Ducati.

The 25-year-old impressed in his second season on finicky Desmosedici and scored six top six top finishes, with a best of fifth in Germany, Brno and Misano after an injury ravaged rookie season in 2013.

Iannone, who also claimed five front row starts last season, told MCN: “I thought I was staying in Pramac but it has always been my dream to be in the factory team with Ducati and this is a perfect situation. I had a good opportunity with Suzuki and the Honda with LCR is a factory bike. But I started with Ducati in MotoGP and it is important to continue in this way. It is a big challenge for me because I don’t think it is impossible to be fast with this bike. It is not easy because Yamaha and Honda is very strong in every point and they have strong riders. But I am sure the best is ahead and it  would have been stupid to leave when the situation is progressing.”

Iannone is back on track in Malaysia early next month but he will only ride an updated version of last year's GP14 machine.

Ducati recently confirmed that the brand new Desmosedici GP15 will not be ready for Iannone and teammate Andrea Dovizioso to test until the second Sepang test in late February.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt