MotoGP: Andrea Dovizioso confirms 2021 sabbatical
Andrea Dovizioso has confirmed that he'll be taking a sabbatical from MotoGP next year.
The Italian released a statement on his social media channels, announcing that after a 13-year stint he would not be on the grid next season.
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The Ducati rider's future has been up in the air for some time now, with Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia confirmed as the factory 2021 Ducati line-up a couple of months ago. Dovizioso had been linked with a spot at Aprilia, as well as test rider roles with Honda and Yamaha.
"Over the last few months, I have received several offers to work as a test rider in developing MotoGP projects and I am grateful for the consideration received by the manufacturers," Dovizioso's statement read. "However, I have decided not to make any commitments and to remain free from formal agreements for now.
"I have an immense passion for racing. I still have the ambition to compete and fight to win. I will return to MotoGP as soon as I find a project driven by the same passion and ambition that I have and within an organization that shares my same objectives, values and working methods.
"Now I am focused on finishing the World Championship in the best possible way, and I have already started developing some projects with my partners."
After finishing as runner-up to Marc Marquez for three consecutive seasons (2017-2019), Dovizioso was naturally the title favourite this season following Marquez's season ending injury. However, it has been a tough year for him and Ducati.
Aside from winning the Austrian GP and finishing on the podium Jerez, Dovizioso has only finished inside the top six on three occasions. He has struggled to find consistent pace and hasn't been able to adapt to the 2020 Michelin tyres.
During his time in the premier class Dovizioso has won 15 times. His best campaign, in terms of race wins, was in 2017 when he stood on the top step of the podium six times, whilst also clinching a further two podiums that year. Dovizioso claimed nine podiums in the next two seasons, adding six more victories to his tally.
With two races remaining of the 2020 season Dovizioso has amassed a total of 62 podiums and seven pole positions. He also won the 125cc title in 2004.
It remains to be seen whether we'll see Dovizioso back on the MotoGP grid in 2022. A large number of contracts expire at the end of 2021, however Dovizioso will be 36-years-old at that stage.
It's become common in the modern world of MotoGP for teams to try and seek out younger stars that have shown great potential in the lower classes.
Following Dovizioso's announcement, Cal Crutchlow has been linked with a test rider role at Yamaha next year.