An engine problem in the closing stages of the Andalucia Grand Prix may have robbed Francesco Bagnaia of a debut MotoGP podium, but the Italian now looks assured of a new 2021 Ducati contract.

Recent comments by Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti suggest it's no longer a question of if Bagnaia will stay with Ducati next year, but instead whether he will remain at Pramac or move with Jack Miller to the Official team - should an agreement not be reached with Andrea Dovizioso.

"It was my objective to remain with Ducati," Bagnaia said at Brno on Thursday. "Because three years ago we made a bet together: my objective was to arrive in MotoGP with Ducati, and they pushed a lot to have me. So that is something which together, we had wanted.

"So to continue for one or two years more with Ducati – I don't have the contract yet – but I'm happy to remain with Ducati for next year. At the moment I don't know in which team, but obviously having in my head that I have a contract for next year is very positive for sure."

Miller is Ducati's only officially confirmed 2021 signing so far, although Moto2 star Jorge Martin is understood to have reached an agreement for one of the Pramac places.

Turning to this weekend, Bagnaia added that the only question he had asked the Ducati following his Jerez engine failure was "if it could happen again.

"They said to me that I don't have to think about that because it was only in Jerez. So for me, I can just think about being fast this weekend.

"I'm happy that I was there in the front group at Jerez, and I was with the same pace as Fabio, who was leading. But Jerez is one track and Brno is another, so let's see this weekend what will happen.

"I think that we will have another a great chance to be fast, because the next three races are very good for our bike, and also for me.

"This one [Brno] is one of my favourites, it's a really great track. But also Austria is perfect for our bike. Let's see what will happen."

Bagnaia cited braking improvements as a major contribution to his red-hot Jerez form, which also included a debut front-row start.

"Already in February in Malaysia and Qatar, with the new bike, I was stronger compared to last year. I was braking harder and more in front, and this was a big step. But I think that in Jerez too, I made another step forward in braking.

"That was the thing that was missing more last year, because I was losing a lot of time in the entry. Every time I was losing five or six tenths per lap and also I was using the front tyre too much, because I was entering the corner with more speed, and the front tyre was having more graining compared to this year.

"In Jerez too, we have worked a lot to have a bike that helped me to stop when I was going straight, so I don't use the front tyre in the race, so that has been a big step forward. So I think also the mentality, the connection with the team is better this year, I feel more comfortable with the bike and with the team. So we are working better, I think."

 

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