Ducati and Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of MotoGP commercial rights holder Dorna Sport, have signed an agreement this Wednesday (January 20) by which the manufacturer from Borgo Panigale will remain in the MotoGP World Championship for five more years. The contract extends the current agreement, which is due to expire at the end of the 2021 season, until the conclusion of 2026.
Both parties have confirmed the new deal, which ratifies the presence of Ducati in the top motorcycling category for another lustrum, through their respective official press releases. The Italian squad thus becomes the second motorcycling manufacturer to expand its commitment to Grand Prix racing.
Last week the Austrian marque KTM also extended its contractual arrangement until 2026 and, after Ducati doing so this Wednesday, the Japanese manufacturers Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki are expected to follow suit over the next few days.
This is fantastic news for the sporting and financial health of a speciality that, like other Motorsport disciplines, is currently struggling under the economic strain that has followed the coronavirus pandemic.
Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO Sports SL: “Dorna Sports is proud of the continuation of the partnership with Ducati and thanks the factory for its loyalty to the series. We have been honoured to accompany the iconic Italian manufacturer as they achieved past milestones and are excited to share this new episode in its history with two bright young stars such as Jack Miller and ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia. Their potential and talent will definitely be one of the assets of the 2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship we are about to start.”
Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding: “Racing has always been a truly fundamental part of the Ducati brand and will remain so in the future. In fact, it represents not only a way to fuel the passion and cheer of the Ducatisti all over the world, but also an advanced research laboratory where the most sophisticated materials and the most innovative design methods are tested”.
“It is also the training ground where our young engineers grow to provide our customers with state-of-the-art motorbikes in terms of technology and emotionality of use, as the Superleggera V4 and Multistrada V4 recently demonstrated.
“In both cases, although with very different declinations, the experience gained in MotoGP has been fundamental. This renewed agreement confirms that, while we plan to continue to expand our product range outside of the world of sports bikes, the track and high-performance motorbikes remain a central element for Ducati. I want to thank Dorna Sports and, in particular, Carmelo Ezpeleta for their great work over the years that has made MotoGP a truly extraordinary media platform.”
Luigi Dall’Igna, General Manager of Ducati Corse: “We are happy to be able to confirm our participation in MotoGP until the end of 2026. In recent years the Desmosedici GP has proven to be one of the most competitive bikes on the grid, and the 2020 Constructors’ World Title is further proof of this.
“Even though this year’s regulations will not allow for significant technical developments, we will face the 2021 season with the same passion and dedication. The goal is to fight for the MotoGP title with our two new riders and prepare the groundwork for our future commitment to the Championship.”
The red team had its MotoGP debut in 2003 and went on to claim its first triumph after only six Grands Prix with Loris Capirossi at the Catalan GP. Only four years later in 2007 and Ducati conquered the constructors, teams and drivers’ crowns with Australian pilot Casey Stoner.
Ducati was in a very competitive state of form last season thanks to the performances and points accrued by Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci, Jack Miller, Francesco Bagnaia and Johann Zarco.
It was the consistency and sheer talent of the pilots signed by the Italian brand that gave them the 2020 MotoGP Constructors’ World Title with the victories of Dovizioso in Austria and Danilo Petrucci in France, as well as a total of nine podiums. Throughout the eighteen seasons that it has taken part in the MotoGP World Championship, Ducati has achieved 51 victories and a total of 160 podiums.
Images of Ducati: Ducati Corse.