Jul 8, 2019

Petrucci retains Ducati MotoGP seat for 2020


MotoGP race winner Danilo Petrucci will remain part of the Ducati factory team in 2020, the Italian manufacturer has announced.

Petrucci was brought in to replace Jorge Lorenzo at the team on an initial one-year deal for 2019, and convinced Ducati to extend his tenure with the outfit through a solid start to the campaign, which included a maiden win at Mugello.

Ducati confirmed its intention to offer Petrucci a new deal in the middle of June, but the Italian rider admitted last time out at Assen that the two parties were yet to agree terms.

However, the extension was firmed up and made official ahead of the following weekend's German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring.

"I'm very happy to continue with Ducati for another year," said Petrucci. "It was my goal ever since the beginning of this new chapter, because we immediately found great chemistry with the team.

"In this first half of the season we were able to progressively increase our competitiveness, taking two podiums and an unforgettable win. To renew our collaboration before the summer break makes me even more serene and confident about the future."

Petrucci sits third in the riders' championship after eight rounds, trailing teammate Andrea Dovizioso by eight points and runaway championship leader Marc Marquez by 52.

The renewal assures Petrucci of a ninth season in the premier class, and puts him in sync with the rest of MotoGP's factory rider market - with the contracts of all of his fellow works riders, including teammate Dovizioso, likewise set to expire at the end of 2020.

"We're very happy to have reached an agreement with Petrucci and to continue to work together on track also next year," said the Ducati team's general manager Gigi Dall'Igna. "Danilo has shown his professionalism and talent ever since the first outings with the factory Desmosedici GP, and I believe his qualities are now clear to everyone, as evidenced by the strong results he already achieved this season, which culminated in a fantastic maiden win at Mugello.

"With Danilo on track alongside Andrea, our goal is to fight for the title, both in the riders' and the manufacturers' championships."

Pramac rider Jack Miller, who had been Petrucci's main rival for the 2020 works ride, remains without a deal in place for next year.

The Aussie is keen to continue on a works-specification Ducati for Pramac, but this would require the Italian manufacturer to supply two GP20 entries for its satellite team next year - for Miller and under-contract teammate Francesco Bagnaia.

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Jun 22, 2019

Ducati improved turning weakness in Barcelona test


Ducati MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci says the new parts brought for the post-Catalan Grand Prix test have improved the turning of the GP19, while also keeping the bike strong in braking.
Corner speed has long been regarded as Ducati's Achilles' heel in MotoGP, as it relies on strong top speed, acceleration and also late braking.

Petrucci confirmed that it was indeed his weak point during the Sunday race as he was overtaken by Alex Rins and Fabio Quartararo in fast corners.

But in the Monday test, Petrucci tested new parts on the chassis of his GP19 and he reported improvements in long corner speed without compromising the bike's strong braking which, allowed him to keep Rins at bay for several laps.

"I did all the race with the Yamaha and Suzuki and we are very strong in acceleration and braking but I suffer in the long corner," explained Petrucci, who salvaged third in the race.

"Alex passed me on Turn 4, Fabio Turn 3, because we can't carry the speed because the bike is stable but there is always the problem of understeering.

"Then in that part for sure we keep the bike good on braking and we improve this part of turning. So it is good."

Petrucci, who ended the test 11th, said that he will start with the new parts in the new race at Assen, where cornering speed is crucial.

"For sure is a small thing but I think is very good for Assen," he added. "We think is good for Assen so we start with this. We found many many other things, for the aerodynamics and electronics that work."

Andrea Dovizioso ended the test 0.008s slower than his teammate, having tested a brand new chassis. He was also pleased with the new parts, which allowed him to be stronger on corner entry, and will also consider using it at Assen.

"I try one different chassis. It wasn't easy to feel the difference because every time you change something on the chassis, very difficult.

"I am happy because I feel the difference, looks like the entry is a bit better, this is positive but is difficult to say how much is the improvement.

"I am happy, we are working on that, normally in the race weekend, you understand something more about that when you are with the other riders.

"When you change something like that, you need the experience to understand exactly the characteristic.

"Maybe [we will use it in Assen], still, when you have one piece and one week, is not easy. Still we have to make the plan but I think so."

Dovizioso was an innocent victim of a four-rider crash in Sunday's Catalan GP and suffered his first retirement of the season, his deficit to Marquez growing to 37 points.


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