The rider line up for the 2020 MotoGP season is nearly complete. Today, the Avintia Ducati team announced they would be signing Tito Rabat to a new two-year deal, for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, with a promise of obtaining factory-spec equipment.
The announcement is a result of the Pons Moto2 squad announcing that they would be signing Lorenzo Baldassarri and Augusto Fernandez for the 2020 season in Moto2. Baldassarri had been strongly linked to the Avintia ride, while Rabat was said to be in talks to head to the WorldSBK championship, to ride a Kawasaki alongside Jonathan Rea. When Baldassarri decided to stay in Moto2, Rabat became Avintia's best option.
The deal has two interesting details. The first is that Avintia are trying to obtain factory-spec machinery and commensurate support for 2020. That would imply that Ducati would field five GP20s (or six, if Karel Abraham were also get one) for next year. For Ducati to support that many factory bikes is a question of money, which would mean Avintia stepping up their investment, and raising more money from sponsorship.
The second is that Rabat has chosen to sign for two years instead of one. That puts him out of step with the whole of the rest of the grid. Everyone else with a contract will be free for the 2021 season, and in a position to negotiate for a new deal with every other team on the grid, potentially at least. Rabat has no such freedom.
On the other hand, Rabat being signed for 2021 also means he won't have to fear losing his ride to one of the influx of youngsters from Moto2 expected at the end of next season.
With Rabat signed, only one signature is missing to complete the field. Jack Miller is still in talks with Pramac Ducati about 2020, though they are currently only talking numbers. The rest of the details - including having a Ducati GP20 - have been settled. A deal should be announced soon.
Here is the nearly complete rider line up for the 2020 MotoGP season:
|Monster Energy Yamaha|
|Valentino Rossi||Yamaha M1||2020|
|Maverick Viñales||Yamaha M1||2020|
|Jorge Lorenzo||Honda RC213V||2020|
|Marc Márquez||Honda RC213V||2020|
|Alex Rins||Suzuki GSX-RR||2020|
|Joan Mir||Suzuki GSX-RR||2020|
|Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia RS-GP||2020|
|Andrea Iannone||Aprilia RS-GP||2020|
|Johann Zarco||KTM RC16||2020|
|Pol Espargaro||KTM RC16||2020|
|Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati GP20||2020|
|Danilo Petrucci||Ducati GP20||2020|
|Pecco Bagnaia||Ducati GP20||2020|
|Jack Miller||Ducati GP20||2019|
|Cal Crutchlow||Honda RC213V||2020|
|Taka Nakagami||Honda RC213V||2019|
|Miguel Oliveira||KTM RC16||2020|
|Brad Binder||KTM RC16||2020|
|Petronas SIC Team|
|Franco Morbidelli||Yamaha M1||2020|
|Fabio Quartararo||Yamaha M1||2020|
|Tito Rabat||Ducati GP19?||2021|
|Karel Abraham||Ducati GP19?||2020|
The Avintia press release announcing the new deal appears below:
Tito Rabat and Reale Avintia Racing together for two more seasons
Reale Avintia Racing team is pleased to announce a new agreement reached with Tito Rabat for the 2020 and 2021 MotoGP seasons. The former Moto2 World Champion will continue for two more years with the team owned by Raúl Romero, who now aims at getting state-of-the-art bikes with the latest factory specifications, as well as a factory technical crew. Furthermore, and thanks to the excellent relationship between Esponsorama and Rabat family, the team is in negotiations with a major sponsor to complete an ambitious project which will allow Reale Avintia Racing to fight for strong results in the upcoming seasons.
Following his serious accident during the British Grand Prix last season, Tito Rabat struggled in a difficult first part of the championship, but in the last two races, the Spanish rider began to recover the feeling with his bike, he was ninth in Catalunya and he was close to the ‘top 10’ last time out in Germany.
Today’s announcement puts an end to the latest rumours that had Rabat looking for a ride in WSBK. It also confirms that Raúl Romero’s team will continue in the MotoGP World Championship stronger than ever.
“I’m very happy that I signed for two more years with my team. The best news is that we are going to have factory bikes from 2020, which is crucial to our goal of fighting for top positions in every race. The MotoGP class is more competitive than ever and you need to have the best machinery to get good results. I want to thank Raúl for his confidence in me. We had a difficult start into this year, but we got stronger in the last few races. Knowing that I will continue for two more seasons is a boost to my confidence and I’m sure I‘ll be back stronger in the second half of the championship.”
Raúl Romero (CEO Esponsorama)
“It is a pleasure to announce that Tito will continue with us for the next two seasons. There has been a lot of talk about Tito’s future and the future of the team, but with this announcement we made it clear that we are moving forward together and that we will be stronger than ever before. The team grew steadily since we arrived in MotoGP and the next step is to get factory machines, the same way as all the other independent teams in the championship. We are working on this right now and we are also in negotiations with a big sponsor that perfectly matches the size of the project we are planning for the upcoming seasons.”