MotoGP: Ducati to remain on the grid until at least 2026
Ducati have become the second manufacturer to commit their future to MotoGP after signing a new five-year contract with Dorna.
The Italian manufacturer join KTM on the confirmed list of entries and will be on the grid until at least the end of 2026. The new deal for both manufacturers runs between 2022 and the 2026 season.
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The Bologna-based outfit first joined MotoGP in 2003 and secured its maiden victory after just six races when Loris Capirossi won the Catalan Grand Prix. Four years later they dominated with Casey Stoner and duly won the Riders', Teams' and Constructors' titles. Stoner won 10 of the 18 races that year, with the Desmosedici GP7's straight-line speed making it impossible for the other bikes to keep up.
In the years that followed Ducati were unable to hit the standards set by the Aussie, with top stars such as Valentino Rossi, Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden all unable to master their Desmosedici machines.
One rider who stuck by Ducati was Andrea Dovizioso, with the Italian working hard to develop and turn the bike back into a race winner. He was rewarded in 2016 when he won the Malaysian GP and would then become Marc Marquez's closest challenger in the years that followed. Dovizioso finished second overall in 2017, 2018 and 2019, taking 12 race wins during that time.
In total there are currently six Desmosedici bikes on the MotoGP grid, with Pramac Racing and Esponsorama Racing also running Ducati machinery.
"We are happy to be able to confirm our participation in MotoGP until the end of 2026,"general manager of Ducati Corse, Luigi Dall'Igna said. "In recent years the Desmosedici GP has proven to be one of the most competitive bikes on the grid, and the 2020 Constructors' World Title is further proof of this.
"Even though this year's regulations will not allow for significant technical developments, we will face the 2021 season with the same passion and dedication. The goal is to fight for the MotoGP title with our two new riders and prepare the groundwork for our future commitment to the Championship."
In a break from tradition, Ducati have turned to youth for their 2021 campaign. Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia have been promoted to the factory team from Pramac Racing. As a result, Johann Zarco moves from Esponsorama Racing to Pramac. He'll be joined by MotoGP rookie Jorge Martin.
Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Aprilia are all expected to sign new deals with Dorna in the coming weeks.