The sixth and final factory MotoGP ride for the 2013 season has been decided.
Having lost Valentino Rossi to Yamaha, Ducati has signed fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso from Tech 3 to take Rossi's place on a two-year deal.
Dovizioso was a factory Honda rider from 2009-2011, winning one race and finishing a best of third in last year's championship, but lost his Repsol seat when the team cut back from three to two riders.
The former 125c world champion thus switched to Tech 3 this year, where he has already scored five podiums - the most ever by a Tech 3 rider in a single season - and holds fourth place, as the leading satellite rider, in the world championship.
Dovizioso hoped such results would lead to a factory M1 ride for 2013, until Rossi's return was announced.
On paper, Dovizioso was the obvious choice to replace Rossi - having been the highest ranked rider yet to sign, not to mention Italian. Dovi will ride alongside Nicky Hayden, who recently signed a new one-year Ducati deal.
“The agreement reached with Andrea Dovizioso confirms the company's primary interest in racing, which is an active and strategic part of Ducati's DNA and heritage,” said President Gabriele Del Torchio.
“It is with great pleasure that I welcome Andrea, as we marshal our best efforts in confronting the MotoGP World Championship.
“Along with Nicky Hayden, with whom we have renewed a working agreement, we are confident that we will be able to proceed with our development program, to compete, and to obtain the results and rewards that will repay our efforts and the faith that our partners, sponsors and fans have never failed to demonstrate."
“Andrea's technical sensibility and test-riding abilities are of great value, as are his talent and determination,” added Filippo Preziosi, General Manager of Ducati Corse.
“The knowledge that we will have him on our team and be able to count on his collaboration serves as an additional incentive to continue with the growth and development of our MotoGP project.