Ducati Corse has confirmed it will promote Pecco Bagnaia alongside Jack Miller for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship as the Italian manufacturer becomes the final factory squad to seal its rider line-up.

The Italian racer - Moto2 champion in 2018 and a protege of Valentino Rossi’s VR46 Academy -  is in the midst of his second season in MotoGP with the Pramac Ducati squad, though unlike 2019 when he competed with year-old machinery, he is running a current spec Ducati GP20 this time.

Though his campaign was interrupted by a leg injury sustained in Brno that ruled him out for three races, Bagnaia has emerged as one of the standouts from this unpredictable season, scoring his maiden podium in Misano before very nearly following it up with a victory the following weekend, only to crash out of the lead in the closing stages.

 

 

Nonetheless, they are performances enough to have convinced Ducati to take a chance on him for a perhaps earlier-than-expected promotion, where he will swap to the full factory ‘scarlet’ bikes along with current Pramac team-mate Miller.

The fresh line-up represents a change of philosophy for Ducati, which has relied on experienced poaches - such as Jorge Lorenzo, Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi - to lead its challenge in the past. 

However, having entrusted its championship bid to Andrea Dovizioso for the last eight years, a breakdown in relations between the two parties led to a well publicised split that narrowed Ducati’s options in a slim rider market.

Indeed, Bagnaia was understood to be in direct competition with Johann Zarco for the available seat after the Frenchman stepped up his performances on the Avintia Ducati in Bagnaia’s absence, only for the Italian to prove himself formidably on his return to action.

With Ducati Corse’s line-up now firmed up, all that remains is for Pramac Racing to reveal its riders for 2021 - almost certain to be Zarco and Jorge Martin - while Avintia Racing will welcome Enea Bastianini alongside the already contracted Tito Rabat.

 

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