At the Argentina MotoGP, Ducati team manager Davide Tardozzi revealed that negotiations with Jorge Lorenzo for 2019 are yet to start.

"We already start to have some negotiations with Andrea [Dovizioso's] manager and we are pretty confident that we will finalise soon," Tardozzi told the official MotoGP website on Thursday.

"Soon doesn't mean one or two days, but we are really now talking about details.

"On Jorge's side, we haven’t started yet because mainly he doesn’t want to do it, because his situation at this moment is more focussed on results, like we would like him to be too.

"Anyway, as we always said, we are happy about both riders – even if people think that Jorge is not working very good with Ducati. We think that the potential of Jorge is very, very high and we still keep confidence in him. We would like to go on."

But another difficult weekend in Argentina did little to dampen speculation that a Lorenzo-Ducati renewal may be far from automatic.

Should Lorenzo look elsewhere - and given there are no factory slots available at his former employer Yamaha - many have highlighted that the Suzuki looks to have a similar riding style to the M1, with which he won three MotoGP titles.

Following Sunday's race, Lorenzo was asked to comment on the rumours:

"I'm really concentrating on making this 'couple', Ducati-Lorenzo, work. And I believe it can be done, so this is my only focus," he said.

"The other part my manager will do when it's time and let's see what happens."

Ducati - like KTM, Aprilia and Suzuki - is yet to sign any factory riders for 2019. However it seems certain that Dovizioso will stay and that Alex Rins will keep one of the Suzuki seats.

But while Rins was celebrating a debut podium on Sunday, Lorenzo could only manage 15th place.

The Spaniard, a competitive fourth when using the 2018 wing fairing for the first time this season during the wet warm-up, admitted that the damp track was his worst-case scenario for the race.

"Another unlucky race because I think in wet conditions we were good," said Lorenzo, who suffered brake failure during the opening round in Qatar.

"In the dry we had a great opportunity to try the new fairing again and to be able to improve the feeling from Friday, but these [damp] conditions were the worst for me.

"We all know these conditions are not my strong point and I struggled so much to find the limit of the track, to be comfortable with the slicks in mixed conditions and I was really slow.

"Little-by-little I was getting the pace and in the 6-7 laps I had similar pace to the others, apart from Marquez who went one second faster than the rest.

"The positive thing is I finished the race, I had quite a good feeling in the last ten laps. Let's see if we can keep going like this in Austin but with more luck and hopefully better results."

Qatar winner Dovizioso finished sixth in Argentina, 20-seconds ahead of Lorenzo, on a day when Pramac's Jack Miller was the top Ducati rider in fourth.

 

 

 

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