As Pecco Bagnaia let slip at Barcelona on Sunday night, Ducati today announced their rider line up for the 2021 season, in both the factory team and the Pramac squad. As expected, there were no surprises: Pecco Bagnaia gets a promotion to the factory team alongside Jack Miller, while Johann Zarco is promoted to the Pramac team, where he will be partnered with current Moto2 rider Jorge Martin.
Bagnaia had been expected to get the nod over Zarco after a string of strong performances since his return from injury. It had been clear that the Italian had made a big step forward during testing and at the first two races at Jerez, his march stymied only by a crash at Brno in which he broke his leg. Though Zarco had been strong at Brno, grabbing pole and a podium, since then, his star has waned a little.
The announcement of Jorge Martin had been widely trailed, going as far back as the Jerez tests. Martin had been expected to move up to MotoGP with KTM, as Martin has raced with KTM in both Moto3 and Moto2, but Ducati's policy of aggressively chasing young talent secured Martin's services early on. That he had signed for Ducati was an open secret, merely awaiting official confirmation.
All four riders will race the latest spec of Ducati Desmosedici, the GP21. However, the cost-cutting measures agreed to address the Covid-19 pandemic means that engines and aerodynamic packages will remain frozen for the start of the 2021 season, meaning that the only differences between a GP20 and a GP21 will be in the chassis.
As for contract length, Ducati is running on two different tracks. The more experienced talent - Jack Miller and Johann Zarco - are on 'prove it' 1+1 contracts, with a contract for 2021 and an option for 2022. The two youngsters, Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin, have two-year contracts through 2022.
The Ducati press release makes no mention of Avintia. At Misano, Enea Bastianini told MotoGP.com that he had signed for Ducati, and he is expected to take the seat vacated by Johann Zarco. The second seat belongs to Tito Rabat contractually, but Rabat has struggled since his crash at Silverstone in 2018, and has pondered making a switch to a role as a rider coach. If he decides to step away from racing, then his place could be taken by Luca Marini, the Sky VR46 rider currently leading the Moto2 championship.
The press releases from Ducati Corse, the Ducati Factory team, and the Pramac Ducati team appear below:
Ducati Corse announces the official Ducati Team and Pramac Racing Team riders' line-up for the 2021 MotoGP season
Ducati Corse is pleased to announce the name of the four Ducati's official riders for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship. Francesco Bagnaia will join forces with the official team alongside the already confirmed Jack Miller. At the same time, Johann Zarco and Jorge Martín will defend the colours of the Pramac Racing Team for next season.
Francesco "Pecco" Bagnaia, Moto2 World Champion in 2018, made his MotoGP debut last year with the Ducati Desmosedici GP bike of the Pramac Racing Team and has shown this year ever-increasing competitiveness, fighting for the podium in several GPs. In 2021, the 23-year-old rider hailing from Piedmont will join his current teammate Jack Miller in the Ducati Team, who is in his seventh season in the premier class.
Jack Miller, 25 years old, Australian rider from Townsville, made his debut in the World Championship in 2011 in the 125-cc class. After fighting for the Moto3 World Title in 2014, he stepped up straight to MotoGP in 2015 competing in 93 races in the category and for the last three seasons with the Pramac Racing Team.
The two new riders of the Pramac Racing Team have three World Titles overall together. Johann Zarco, a 30-year-old French rider, won the Moto2 World Title in 2015 and 2016 and this year he is competing in MotoGP with the Ducati bike of Team Esponsorama, with whom he took pole position and a third place in the race in Brno. With him, in the Borgo Panigale factory-supported team there will be a rookie in the category, Spaniard Jorge Martín, 22 years old, 2018 Moto3 World Champion in his current second season in Moto2.
All four official riders will ride the latest version of the Desmosedici GP bikes with same technical specifications.
Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding: "Racing is an evolving advanced technology incubator that is a fundamental part of our company. It is essential to continue to invest in research and development and not to be afraid to innovate and renew to be successful. That's why I am thrilled with the inclusion of young and talented riders who make us look to the future with optimism and a constant desire to improve. Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia have shown this year that they can take advantage of the potential of our Desmosedici GP bike and have earned this opportunity. Their transition to the official team from the Pramac Racing Team, where they both grew up, is proof of the efficient collaboration that binds us to the team of Paolo Campinoti, which I would like to thank. I am sure that next year his team will be able to make the most of the talent of the two new riders Johann Zarco and Jorge Martín. Now, however, we are focused on the current season, because we want to get the best possible results with our two riders: Andrea, who in these eight years with us has been runner up in the World Championship for three consecutive years, won 14 GPs, thus becoming the most successful Ducati rider after Stoner, and is still in the fight for the world title this year and Danilo. Danilo, who is working hard to get back to fighting for the podium. Together with them, we will do everything to conclude our beautiful adventure together in the best possible way".
Francesco Bagnaia joins Jack Miller in the Ducati Team for the 2021 season
Ducati Corse is pleased to announce that it will be Francesco Bagnaia to defend the colours of the Ducati Team in the 2021 MotoGP World Championship, alongside the already confirmed Jack Miller. The rider from Piedmont, 23 years old, will move to the official team for next season, after his first two years in MotoGP with Pramac Racing, the factory-supported team of the Borgo Panigale manufacturer.
Born in Turin in 1997, Francesco "Pecco" Bagnaia made his debut in the Moto3 World Championship in 2013 and then stepped up to Moto2 in 2017, winning the World Title in this category in 2018. In 2019, he moved up to MotoGP with the Pramac Racing Team, and this year Pecco has stood out on many occasions with his Desmosedici GP bike, taking his first podium in the Lenovo Grand Prix of San Marino and the Rimini Riviera, that he closed in second place.
Francesco Bagnaia: "I'd chosen to be a Ducati rider even before becoming a Moto2 World Champion in 2018, and they had chosen me even before I had known that one day I would become one. It was our bet because until that moment I had always been a fast rider, but I had nothing concrete under my belt: Ducati decided to believe in it even before everyone else. We didn't know how it was going to go, but to this day, if I had to go back, I'd do it all over again. My MotoGP debut was not easy, but at Ducati, they never questioned me: they gave me all the support and confidence that a rookie needs and they let me do experience in 2019. I listened to them, I trusted them, together we learned to know each other and understand each other, and now we form a great team. They taught me a method of work that allowed us to take away some nice satisfactions and I think that's just the beginning. Today I am the happiest person in the world, for me, it is a dream come true: being an official Ducati rider has always been my ambition, and I succeeded together with all of those who had always believed in me even when things did not go well. A special thank goes to Claudio Domenicali, Gigi Dall'Igna, Paolo Ciabatti and Davide Tardozzi for the trust, to the Pramac Racing Team that welcomed me as a family and to the VR46 Riders Academy that has always supported me all these years".
Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding: "Racing is an evolving advanced technology incubator that is a fundamental part of our company. It is essential to continue to invest in research and development and not to be afraid to innovate and renew to be successful. That's why I am thrilled with the inclusion of young and talented riders who make us look to the future with optimism and a constant desire to improve. Pecco and Jack have shown this year that hey can take advantage of the potential of our Desmosedici GP and have earned this opportunity. Their transition to the official team from the Pramac Racing Team, where they both grew up, is proof of the efficient collaboration that binds us to the team of Paolo Campinoti, which I would like to thank. Now, however, we are focused on the current season, because we want to get the best possible results with our two riders: Andrea, who in these eight years with us has been runner up in the World Championship for three consecutive years, won 14 GPs, thus becoming the most successful Ducati rider after Stoner, and is still in the fight for the world title this year and Danilo. Danilo, who is working hard to get back to fighting for the podium. Together with them, we will do everything to conclude our beautiful adventure together."
Pramac Racing Team together with Johann Zarco and Jorge Martín for the 2021 season
Johann Zarco and Jorge Martín will be the two Pramac Racing Team riders in the 2021 MotoGP World Championship.
A delighted Paolo Campinoti, Team Principal of Pramac Racing, stated:
"We are happy to have reached an agreement with Johann and Jorge. We want to continue an important project that is giving us great satisfaction. The sporting qualities and the winning mentality of the two riders are extremely well known: expectations are therefore high. We know Johann well, and we have a very positive feeling with him: the same will be with Jorge".
Johann Zarco (Cannes, 16 July 1990) is a French rider, two-time Moto2 World Champion in 2015 and 2016.
Jorge Martín Almoguera (Madrid, 29 January 1998) is a Spanish rider, winner of the Moto3 World Championship in 2018. 2021 will be his first MotoGP Championship season in the premier class.