Ducati had an option on Petrucci's 2019 services "until the end of June", meaning the Italian couldn't sign for anyone else until that date had passed.

The same deadline is also thought to have been in place for Jack Miller's future, another potential Lorenzo replacement, while Ducati frequently spoke of waiting "until after Mugello" for a final decision on Lorenzo.

But Lorenzo was given the impression he was already on his way out of Ducati and, with the remaining seats filling up fast, made the alternative Honda plans.

"The [fuel tank] pieces arrived too late and the next two years I will be with another bike," announced Lorenzo, moments after stepping down from the top step of the Italian Grand Prix podium.

Had Ducati been able to keep all its rider options open until the end of June, they would have known of Lorenzo's Mugello victory on June 3rd and follow-up Barcelona win on June 17.

"We're obviously happy that Jorge was able to start winning with Ducati, ironically in Mugello when we basically had decided to part ways for the following season, but that’s life," said Ducati Corse sporting director Paolo Ciabatti.

Ciabatti admitted "different elements" would have been in play if they had waited a month or two more, but also cited the signing of Moto2 champion Francesco Bagnaia before the season began as the benefit of an early decision.

"Well it’s very controversial. It’s true that if you wait a little bit longer you have more information available, so obviously in our case Jorge started winning in Mugello and probably if the decisions would have to be taken in the middle of July or August, as it was in the past, we had different elements," he said.

"But I think we are happy with the team we have for next year. I think it’s well balanced.

"On the other side, moving ahead of the competition, like signing Bagnaia even before the Moto2 season started, was an advantage because - with I think a reasonable gamble - we secured for many years a very good and promising rider.

"So there are pros and cons of the situation."

Lorenzo went on to claim a third Ducati win, in Austria, before injuries at Aragon and Buriram ruined the end of his season. Dovizioso claimed four wins and was MotoGP title runner-up to Marquez for the second year in succession.

"In terms of results, it has been the best season for Ducati since 2007," Ciabatti said. "So we are quite pleased. Obviously, being again second as a rider and second as a manufacturer in the championship is a good result.

"But there were a few races where we were not, at the beginning of the season, at the competitive level we expected, and then a few more crashes that didn’t put us in the position to fight for the championship until the end, as we did last year.

"Anyway, we are pleased with the competitiveness of the bike. We know that we still miss something in some areas, and this is what we have been working on for the GP19."

 

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