Ducati: One-year deal means pressure is on Petrucci
Ducati MotoGP sporting director Paolo Ciabatti admits the onus is on Danilo Petrucci to prove he deserves his promotion to the factory team.
Pramac rider Petrucci was chosen to partner Andrea Dovizioso in Ducati’s works team for 2019, and replaces Honda-bound Jorge Lorenzo at the Bologna marque next year.
However, unlike the other factory riders on the MotoGP grid, Petrucci is only on a one-year deal, and will be under pressure early next year to earn a contract renewal.
He faces possible competition from current Pramac teammate Jack Miller, as well as his replacement at the satellite squad, Moto2 champion Francesco Bagnaia, to maintain his seat alongside Dovizioso in 2020.
Miller has made little secret of the fact he is targeting Petrucci’s seat for the 2020 campaign, having missed out on a 2019 promotion in favour of the Italian.
Asked whether Petrucci’s one-year deal meant he would be under pressure to prove himself to Ducati, Ciabatti told Motorsport.com: “That is a bit the truth.
“Riding for an official team means a lot of pressure, both from the media and sponsors. He has to show that he is able to get on the podium often.
“Danilo has to see the coming season as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. His career up to this point has been very particular, and we believe he deserves the opportunity that he was offered. But he has to show us that the decision we have made is correct.
"It's true that a two-year contract would give him some more peace of mind, but Ducati has to be sure that its two riders are able to win races.
“That's why I think a one-year contract was the most appropriate.”
Petrucci heads into this weekend’s Valencia season finale targeting independent honours, lying five points behind Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco in the standings.
The 28-year-old’s best result this season has been second at Le Mans, his only trip to the podium of the current campaign.
Danilo Petrucci, Pramac Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images
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