After Jorge Lorenzo's departure for Repsol Honda was confirmed this morning, the factory Ducati team announced that Danilo Petrucci will be moving up to take his place for the 2019 season.
The move had been widely expected, as the factory had an option on Petrucci's contract which expired at the end of June. After Lorenzo's decision to leave, Petrucci was the obvious choice to replace him.
Petrucci's promotion to the factory team is the crowning chapter in a truly remarkable tale of progress up through the ranks. Danilo Petrucci started his racing on production bikes, racing first in the Italian and European Superstock 600 championship in 2007, before moving up to the Superstock 1000 class in 2010 and 2011. In 2011, Petrucci finished second in the European Superstock 1000 class, and won the Italian Superstock 1000cc title with Barni Racing Ducati.
With the introduction of the CRT class in 2012, Danilo Petrucci switched to MotoGP. The Italian raced on the woefully underfunded Ioda Racing team, first aboard an Aprilia-powered Ioda TR003 bike, later switching to a BMW-powered Suter. In 2014, Petrucci raced an ART machine in the Open Class, which the CRT class had metamorphosed into with the introduction of spec electronics.
The following season, 2015, Petrucci joined the Pramac Ducati team, racing an older version of the Ducati Desmosedici. He made an immediate impression, dropping a lot of weight to prepare for the season, and getting his first podium at Silverstone. Petrucci had a breakout year in 2017, with a total of four podiums that season. So far in 2018, Petrucci has one podium, and is currently sixth in the championship and second best Ducati.
Petrucci's story is one of hard work paying off, and gambling on the right choices at the right time. The move up to the factory Ducati team is the ultimate reward.
With Petrucci confirmed in the factory team, both the factory Ducati and Pramac teams are now full. Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci will race Desmosedici GP19s in the factory team, while Jack Miller will have a GP19 in the Pramac squad. He will be joined there by rookie Pecco Bagnaia, who moves up from Moto2 this season.
The press release from Ducati announcing Petrucci's arrival in the factory team appears below, and below that, a press release from his existing Pramac Ducati squad congratulating him on the promotion:
Danilo Petrucci to team up with Andrea Dovizioso in the 2019 Ducati Team
Ducati Corse wishes to announce that it has reached an agreement with Danilo Petrucci which will see the Italian rider join the Ducati Team in 2019. The 27-year-old from Terni has therefore been promoted to the factory squad after four seasons in the factory-supported Pramac Racing Team and he will race alongside his fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso, who was recently confirmed for two more seasons.
“It goes without saying that for me, being part of the factory team is a dream come true,” said Danilo Petrucci. “It’s a great honour to become an official rider for the Ducati Team, especially for someone like me who started in Ducati as a production motorcycle test rider. First of all I would like to thank Paolo Campinoti and Francesco Guidotti, who gave me the chance four years ago to race on a Ducati for the Pramac Racing Team. Without them all this would not have been possible. I also want to thank the managers of Ducati and Ducati Corse - Claudio Domenicali, Gigi Dall'Igna and Paolo Ciabatti - who appreciated me first as a person and then as a rider and I really can’t wait to start this new adventure in the factory team. Now all I want to do is to finish the year in the top five in the standings and then start the new season with the Ducati Team.”
Claudio Domenicali, Ducati Motor Holding CEO, added: “First of all I’d like to thank Jorge Lorenzo for all the efforts and commitment that he has made during his time as a Ducati rider and in particular for his outstanding victory last Sunday at Mugello, which will go down in history as one of our company’s legendary racing achievements. Jorge is a great champion, capable of incredible feats, and even though it is sad that he took such a long time to find the right feeling with our bike, we will continue to do everything possible to put him in a position to achieve further victories in the remaining rounds of the season and fight for the world title together with his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso. I wish to give a warm welcome to Danilo, whom we look forward to seeing in Ducati Team colours next year, together with Andrea, and who we feel sure will continue his rapid rise to success.”
"Just one last request: take us on the highest step of the podium".
“A great future with Ducati, Petrux, but your present is still with us! Make us dream!”
It is official: in the 2019 MotoGP season, Danilo Petrucci will ride for Ducati Team and this represents another extraordinary achievement and source of pride for Alma Pramac Racing. It is with great satisfaction and emotion that we wish our Petrux best luck for a successful future with the official team. After Andrea Iannone, Danilo Petrucci is the second rider to wear the Ducati Team colors after working with great dedication and commitment with Pramac Racing.
It will not be easy to see Petrux come out of the door of our garage after the race in Valencia. However, we cannot help being thrilled by the certainty that the most long-lived rider in the history of our team, as well as the one who has achieved the best results, will still be in the box next door.
However, there is still a long way to go before it is time for farewell. We do not want to put pressure on you, Petrux. Just one last request: take us on the highest step of a podium in the 2018 MotoGP season. Just choose one!