Pramac Ducati team boss Francesco Guidotti has confirmed that both current riders will definitely continue with the squad in MotoGP 2017, but admits the level of machinery available to the team will depend on results in the second half of the season.
Furthermore, as the team's contract with Ducati expires at the close of 2017, the Italian admitted he has explored the possibility of using Suzuki machinery the following year, and spoke of having a 'good response' from the Japanese factory.
At the moment, Pramac riders Scott Redding and Danilo Petrucci are operating on year-old machinery (GP15s) with a significant amount of factory support.
While Petrucci was hopeful of securing GP17 bikes that will be used by both Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso in the factory team, Guidotti remains pragmatic, knowing the Bologna factory's efforts will be very much focussed around the needs of the reigning world champion, who will join the Italian marque at the close of this season after an eight-year spell with Yamaha.
“It depends on Ducati's strategy,” Guidotti told Crash.net
when asked about the machinery that will be available to both his riders in 2017.
“It depends how and when the new bike will be ready – if there will be a new bike. The bike from '14 to '15 was completely new. From '15 to '16 it was a big change. I don't know what the plan is for them, or how much they will change for next year.
“Still, it is something we are available to cooperate. It will be decided together and of course the results from now on will be important to move the decision in one way or another. Lorenzo is coming so Ducati will be really focussed on him, first of all.
“I think that programme is here, which we will discuss about our technical treatment shortly. We are not worried. Since 2013 we have been very, very close to the factory so for sure we will find the right way to be competitive.”
On whether the current rider line up will remain for a further season, the Italian was unequivocal: “Everything is confirmed. We are not in the market.”
While Redding and Petrucci's presence at Pramac for a second season as team-mates appears to be set in stone, the team's brand of machinery beyond 2017 remains unknown.
As journalist Matteo Aglio from Italian website GP One
reported in June, Guidotti confirmed that he has spoken to Suzuki, to “investigate and consider other solutions” for the future, beyond the running of Pramac's contract with Ducati.
“This is something for 2018. They said that they will put two more bikes available in 2018. We have a contract with Ducati for next year, but for a medium term we have no plan signed. Why not investigate and consider other solutions?
“Everyone here at the right moment has to make their own evaluation for the future. The company do it. The teams too. It's nothing against Ducati for sure. But why not look around?
“We had a good response from Suzuki when we asked. It's something that we can really consider. There is plenty of time to make a decision. It is only June. And we are talking for 2018. It's just having a look at the bigger picture.”
Upon KTM's joining of the class next year, six factories will compete in the MotoGP class from 2017 and series organiser Dorna is keen for each factory to provide bikes for satellite teams as soon as possible.
From Guidotti's comments, it appears Aprilia will be well placed to provide more than two factory bikes in 2018 too.
“I heard that also Aprilia is trying to have a second team on the grid,” he said. “Suzuki is looking around. KTM is maybe too early to consider a second team when they will be rookies next year.
“The ideal situation, as Dorna says, will be six manufacturers with six satellite teams. We will see. It's something that, as I said, we have time to consider, without arguing for anyone. It's looking at the wider scenario and then we can make a decision together.”