After lots of speculation, Ducati have confirmed that their current riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow will remain with the team in 2015.
There had been speculation linking both riders with moves away from the Italian team, with Suzuki admitting interest in both riders but they have both opted to stay with the Bologna factory as they continue their bid to return to challenging for race wins and world titles.
They have struggled in recent years, failing to win a race since Casey Stoner won in Australia in 2010 and they failed to record a single podium finish in 2013. Dovizioso has finished on the podium twice this season as they attempt to develop the bike and have already confirmed that a brand new bike is in development for next season.
This progress and development of a new bike has been enough to convince Dovizioso to sign a new two year contract with the team as the potential of the team grows. He had become increasingly disillusioned towards the end of 2013 with the performances but the arrival of general manager Gigi Dall’Igna has seen an upturn in fortunes and as they are competing under open class rules this allows much more freedom for testing and allows in-season engine development which is starting to yield results.
Announcing the contract, Dovizioso said:
We’ve reached an agreement and this is because it’s an interesting project which is beginning to bear fruit with the arrival of Dall’Igna. We’ve had two podiums already this season and we are fourth in the world championship. The current situation is really exciting, especially with the plans for 2015 in mind.
Crutchlow is in his first season as a factory rider and has struggled this season, both with the bike and injuries. A fall at Austin ruled him out of the Argentina race and he’s also suffered mechanical failures at Jerez as well as crashing at Mugello. There had been speculation that he would use the clause in his contract allowing him to leave after only one year but he has confirmed that he will be staying with the team in 2015, saying:
Andrea (Dovizioso) is having a great season but we need to keep working hard in the second half of the year. I am certain that they are working hard in the factory in Italy. We hope to keep getting closer to the front guys. Marc (Marquez) seems like he is from another planet but Andrea (Iannone) beat him in the past.
Ducati MotoGP project director Paolo Ciabatti said:
Dovizioso has renewed his contract this morning, Cal has a contract with us for next season and he will continue in the ‘official’ team next year. Iannone has done even better than we expected and we want him to stay with us. We want to offer him better technical support and next week we should be able to decide how to do it, what the contract will be and the exact technical package.
With a new bike being developed for next season, hopes are high that the team can climb the standings and challenge regularly for the podium in the future. Securing the riders for next season will be a big boost to the team.