MotoGP sabbatical now an option for Ducati's Dovizioso, says manager

Andrea Dovizioso’s manager admits his MotoGP rider is now considering taking a sabbatical in 2021 should contract negotiations with Ducati fully break down.

Talks between Ducati and Dovizioso over a renewal beyond the 2020 season have been a protracted affair, with the Italian marque wanting to renegotiate the terms for the current campaign owing to the truncated calendar and slash Dovizioso’s future salary in light of impending financial uncertainty cause by coronavirus.

While Ducati stated last month it had ironed out revised 2020 terms, Dovizioso’s manager Simone Battistella told the MotoGP podcast that “we are still defining the commitment for 2020”.

Though Battistella refutes the disagreement between Ducati and Dovizioso is fully financially motivated, he admits Ducati now wants “some races to pass” this year before renewing talks.

However, should both parties fail to come to terms, Battistella says Dovizioso will consider taking a year out.

“It is an option that we value,” Battistella said of Dovizioso taking a sabbatical.

“If the conditions are not met, he prefers not to continue.

“Andrea is not thinking about retiring, he feels strong and well, he is in the best shape and he does not think about leaving.

“It is true that if you do not have an interesting project you are not interested in accepting, you are willing to wait until it arrives.

“That does not mean he is going to retire, it means that he is not going to have a team to race in and he is going to wait for that project to come.”

Dovizioso’s options would be limited for a return in 2022 should he ultimately take a year out in 2021, with Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki’s line-ups secured beyond next year at its works teams.

Incoming works team Ducati rider Jack Miller is only on a one-year deal, as will Dovizioso’s potential break likely be, leaving the door ajar for the Italian marque to offer Dovizioso better terms should its 2021 line-up disappoint.

KTM’s line-up is also only fixed for 2021, with Battistella confirming discussions were had between both parties – though it quickly became clear there was “no future” there.

“We talked to them [KTM], but we quickly realised that the conditions to work together were not there,” he added.

“They were quick conversations, but in good faith on both sides, we soon realised that there was no future there.”

Dovizioso is currently undergoing rehabilitation on a broken left collarbone he suffered last weekend in a motocross accident.

He is expected to be fit enough in time for the opening round of the 2020 MotoGP season on 19 July.


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