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Why Ducati's latest rider divorce was inevitable
Confirming this week that he will be leaving Ducati at the end of 2020, Danilo Petrucci's exit had been on the cards since last year's Valencia MotoGP finale. Circumstances and a dip in form have worked against him, but Petrucci is a rider who still deserves his place on the grid.
Though it is yet to be made official, Ducati and Danilo Petrucci will part ways at the end of the 2020 season. He's been ousted by the graduating Jack Miller from Pramac and left with no room at the inn as Andrea Dovizioso, despite his qualms over money, looks likely to remain in the other works Ducati garage for 2021.
The harsh truth is that this had been coming since the back-end of last year. Following a strong opening half to the 2019 season - Petrucci's first as a full factory rider - which included his debut win after 124 starts, his form trailed off miserably, with the 29-year-old failing to secure a top six finish on the run from Brno to the season-ender in Valencia. Finding a way out of that spiral proved tricky for Ducati, as Petrucci's weight - being the tallest rider on the grid - played a major factor.
Marc Marquez's romp to victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas led many to believe the 'old' pre-injury Honda rider was close to coming back to his full powers. However, the 'old' Marquez will probably never exist again and instead he'll have to adapt to his new reality to return to title-winning ways in 2022.
Marc Marquez scorched to his seventh Circuit of the Americas victory in MotoGP last Sunday with a display reminiscent of his pre-injury form. However, his path to the win across the weekend was in keeping with the current reality of his physical limitations, with self-preservation on Saturday key to his Sunday success
His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten
Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”.
On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino GP will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP's present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia's flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows
Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis
OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment
OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade
Petrucci confirms exit from Ducati MotoGP fold
Ducati secures Martin as Miller's Pramac replacement