Factory Ducati MotoGP Team Signs Danilo Petrucci to Replace Jorge Lorenzo

Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali made the executive decision to hire the Italian rider for the 2019-2020 season.

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MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci has been confirmed as the factory Ducati rider for the 2019 and 2020 racing seasons. The Italian rider will join Andrea Dovizioso at the Borgo Panigale outfit, completing a lineup of all-Italian riders racing under an Italian marque.

The news didn't come much as much of a surprise on Wednesday morning, as Jorge Lorenzo's sudden departure from Ducati to Repsol Honda opened up a big spot in the MotoGP roster that would ultimately have to be filled. However, with Petrucci, Jack Miller, and Andrea Iannone rumored to be on the hunt for a new ride for 2019, it wasn't clear who the factory Ducati team would choose as the world champion's successor.

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Petrucci has been an integral part of the Pramac Ducati since 2015 and has managed to deliver better than average results during his tenure at the satellite team. More specifically, he's stood on the podium a total of six times with half of those being on the second-place step. Perhaps it's this kind of determination that drove Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali to make the executive decision to hire Petrucci over the other free agents.

"It goes without saying that for me, being part of the factory team is a dream come true," said Petrucci. "It's a great honour to become an official rider for the Ducati Team, especially for someone like me who started in Ducati as a production motorcycle test rider."

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"First of all I would like to thank [Pramac boss] Paolo Campinoti and Francesco Guidotti, who gave me the chance four years ago to race on a Ducati for the Pramac Racing Team," he added. "Without them all this would not have been possible. I also want to thank the managers of Ducati and Ducati Corse - [CEO] Claudio Domenicali, [technical boss] Gigi Dall'lgna and [sporting director] Paolo Ciabatti - who appreciated me first as a person, and then as a rider, and I really can't wait to start this new adventure in the factory team."

The 27-year-old rider will now focus on finishing the 2018 MotoGP season at Pramac with as many points as possible, as the Ducati crew will be looking to him to maintain a high morale until the official changing of the guard.