With Valentino Rossi returning to Yamaha next year it seems Ducati is destined to name Andrea Dovizioso as its second factory MotoGP rider for 2013 ahead of this weekend’s Indianapolis Grand Prix.
As usual, Rossi’s decisions have had far reaching implications for the other riders in the paddock. Before the change, both Tech 3 riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso were vying for the remaining factory Yamaha seat, especially after Ben Spies announced his imminent departure. Dovi has clearly outperformed the Englishman this year but all of this became moot when Rossi announced his switch.
Both riders have been linked with Ducati, most recently Ducati was said to have made Cal a verbal offer but nothing on paper seemed to eventuate. Now Italian media are reporting that Dovi is all set to join Ducati for a 2 year stint after extracting various promissory notes from Audi that they would make significant enough investments to ensure that the Ducati have a fighting chance of becoming competitive next season. Whatever those promises were, they weren’t enough to convince Rossi.
The doctor made his first public statements on his decision to leave Ducati on his Twitter account. The tweet was in his native Italian but Google offered up this rough translation.
“It was a great pity not being able to be competitive with the Ducati. It would have been a great satisfaction for me and all the guys who worked with me and we will try until the end. And it would also have been fun for all our fans. I’m sorry. However there are still 8 GPs to go and we will work hard to do some good races. Ciao to all and see you at Indy.”
With Andrea joining newly re-signed Nicky Hayden the future for Cal Crutchlow might still be with Ducati since his few remaining options include joining the proposed new Ducati junior team. A strong performance in 2013 might net him factory equipment in 2014. Nicky’s contract is for just 1 year with an option to renew.