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Press Report Indicates Andrea Dovizioso Rejected “Lowball” Offer to Extend Ducati Relationship

Ducati is in a unique circumstance with regard to its MotoGP riders, Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo. Dovizioso has been far more successful on the bike than Lorenzo over the past year and a half (Dovizioso has won 7 of the last 16 MotoGP races, finished a close second to Marc Marquez (Honda) in the championship last year, and currently leads the MotoGP championship this year).

Yet, their salaries are “upside down” with Lorenzo rumored to have a base of $12 million a year compared to Dovizioso’s $2 million a year.  Understandably, Dovizioso wants a very, very big raise next year after his contract expires at the end of this season … but Ducati views the Lorenzo contract as a one-off, and is rumored to be offering Dovizioso something far below Lorenzo’s current pay check.

A recent report indicates that Ducati, despite expressing confidence it could re-sign Dovizioso, is far apart in its current offer. Indeed, that article contains a direct quote from Dovizoso’s manager, Simone Battistella as follows:

“We are far. Here we’ve had a meeting with Ducati and finally we said we have to keep working to make Andrea feel comfortable. . . . The rider (Dovizioso) is not asking for something extraordinary, nothing impossible, just what he deserves taking into account the job that he’s doing. But at the moment, we are not close to a deal.”

Although Marquez is clearly the favorite to repeat as champ this year (he is only a single point behind Dovizioso in the current standings), anything can happen in MotoGP (and it typically does), and Dovizioso could be the defending champ when he is on the grid next year. Waiting to see how this season plays out could cut both ways, but on a good bike there is no doubt that Dovizioso is a consistent front runner.

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  1. fred says:

    Late to the party, but some of you seem to forget the Dovi is older than Lorenzo. Throughout his career, except for last season, he’s been a 2nd-tier (or lower) rider. Lorenzo has been top-tier almost the entire time.

    One decent year does not make Dovi an alien, and Ducati knows that, even though they clearly would like to keep him on the team. Winning a few races is great, but it doesn’t mean that you get champion-level pay, nor that your multi-year champion teammate needs to pull over every time you get close.

  2. Mick says:

    Ducati is on the stupid side for singing riders to expensive multi-years contracts before they know if the rider can ride their bike. They learned nothing from their Rossi experiance. Now they will embitter the rider who gets results for them. It is a wonder that they get any results at all.

  3. wjf says:

    is there a rule that any mnf or team can only have 2 bikes?

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I don’t think there is, unless that has changed in the past 8 years. Honda had three factory bikes (Stoner, Pedrosa, and Dovizioso) for a time, going to two riders in 2011.

  4. Ellis says:


    Go Maverick Vinales!

  5. Vrooom says:

    Lorenzo’s deal with Ducati is the worst contract a bike manufacturer ever entered. He was the highest paid rider last year, and was often worse than 10th place. Dovi won’t get that money, but he ought to get a big raise or they’ll lose him. The way Marquez has been riding an injury is possible, and Dovi will be poised to keep the championship lead he has. Since he’s under contract this year it will be fine for Ducati, but make him more expensive next year.

  6. Rick says:

    You see this type of thing all over in pro sports ….people get paid huge salaries based on past performances …when are those controlling the purse strings going to learn contracts should ALWAYS come with a performance clause!

  7. dt 175 says:

    Jorge makes more money cause he sells more unibat, riello and flex-box than dovi…

  8. joe b says:

    Waiting for the marriage in heaven, Rossi and Ducati! Oh, wait, ri-ight, forgot about thats already happened. Honda may not be in the hunt for first in all the races, but its not 12th or 19th at the others. Dovi deserves credit for his ability to do what others cant. Ride the Duck… anyone know what Marquez makes?

    • Steve says:

      Actually Casey Stoner also rode the Ducati with good success on the race track. I would love to see Stoner come back to racing.

    • Vrooom says:

      Petrucci seems to be able to do it. I think the Duc is probably more rideable than it was when Stoner pulled off his championships on it.

  9. Curly says:

    Holdout for the big dough Dovi you’ve earned it.

  10. skybullet says:

    It’s all about the contract. Riders and teams should key rider pay to performance. Rather than lock in a losing combination for both the rider and the team for years, an Out Clause could benefit both parties.
    Incidentally, the COTA at Austin was one of the most boring races I have ever seen. There was no close racing or passing that I saw during the entire race. It was just a parade with increased spacing between riders. Very similar to the last Moto GP I attended a few years ago. Very disappointing, I won’t be back.

    • arrowrod says:

      Congratulations, you figured it out. “Race direction” (whoever those morons are), decided to punish Marquez.
      If you read Marquez’s statement, he said he would normally hang back until the end of the race, then go…
      Now, he has decided to pour on the coals from the beginning of the race. Goodbye drama.
      I personally think Marquez should always start at the back, then look out!

      • Fred says:

        Rossi in his younger years used to hold back and play cat and mouse till near the end and then clear off to win. He said he liked the race adrenaline which gave the Fans their monies worth. It did cost him a few wins though when something went sideways.I think Markie M noted that lesson from The Doctor, and to just go for it and pick up the cash.
        Dovi should go to Suzuki as the lead rider alongside Rins IMHO.

        • Dave says:

          That’s more an example of Rossi’s skill of self promotion. Cat & mouse = tire preservation in most cases.

    • David Fisher says:

      I agree 100%. I was also at COTA this year and although I had a great time (first MOTOGP event) the race was a big disappointment. Was probably better on BEIN Sports.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Nah, just as dull on TV.

      • Brian says:

        From an actual race-watching perspective, it’s always better on the MotoGP website than in real life. The two races I’ve attended have been worth it just for the awesome sound and up-close speed of those bikes…but apart from that, meh.

        Would probably still go every other year if it were still in Indy (hardly a great circuit, but at least there was some question as to who would win), but I can’t justify a trek all the way to Austin just to see a race where there’s virtually no doubt about the outcome.

        • Provologna says:

          Yes to all.

          I went to COTA in 2014. The excitement of being at that fantastic track was the polar opposite of the race itself: B-O-R-I-N-G.

          It’s sad, because the track is so beautiful. I thought of going again, but surely won’t now. It’s impossible to justify the expense with the outcome fully established, barring MM’s bike breaking down, virtually impossible.

          I wonder where would MM have finished if Dorna penalized him for his violations at the prior race, by forcing him to start at the back. Could he have still won? I suspect yes, barring a passing crash.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Even if someone else did win, the race would looked very much the same: a parade of fast moving bikes with little to no passing. COTA just isn’t suited to motorcycle racing. Qualifying is much more fun to watch than the actual race there. Too bad as you said, because it is a great venue to attend outside of two pretty neat cities and some beautiful road and dual sport riding not far west of there.

  11. bmbktmracer says:

    Ducati sold 56,000 motorcycles in 2017. Thus, on average, $250 of the price of each motorcycle went to pay the salaries of 2 MotoGP riders. Add in World Superbike, plus the cost of the teams and travels, and we’re probably looking at $500 per motorcycle to cover the racing. Probably a fair amount, given the importance of the race image to Ducati owners. But, to be fair to both riders, Dovi was a 5th place guy most of his career, whilst Lorenzo was winning championships. Tables have turned, so the beards at Ducati need to move their chairs.

    • Max says:

      That’s just the cost of the riders. There’s also the cost of the team, the bikes, and the travel.
      OTOH, they also get money from ticket sales, trinket sales, TV advertising and so on.

      • Superlight says:

        Don’t forget outside sponsors like Flex Box and Riello, plus I think Marlboro is still in there.

    • Brinskee says:

      The thing that blows my mind is that Ducati posted a profit of around $68 million for 2017. They paid JL99 around 18% of what their profit margin was. I’m shocked at this, and actually shocked at such low profit numbers. I wonder what Claudio Domenicali makes as CEO?

      This is why technology creates such fabulous wealth – so many more customers (potentially) and such incredibly higher margins. No wonder the Audi group was looking at selling Ducati a while back. Such a razor thin margin of error – if you make a misstep like letting a Terblanche ruin the design language of your bikes, the margins are so small and the risk so high that you could legitimately risk bankruptcy with such a misstep.

      Craziness. If JL99 isn’t contributing to the sales of bikes or at least the brand’s value, he’s got to go, which it looks like he will, to the relief of probably everyone involved.

      The same question must be asked (and value calculated appropriately) for what AD04 can do for the value of the brand and the resulting bike sales… and that’s the answer for his salary numbers.

      Interesting stuff.

  12. Jabe says:

    I would ride that Ducati for free, but I don’t suppose they will offer that to me.

  13. TF says:

    I’m betting that Ducati is going to come through for Dovi.

    • Dave says:

      Their first offer sends a very strong message; “Update your resume.”

      With Tech3 and Yamaha parting ways,does anyone know if Yamaha will supply another team to replace those two bikes on the grid? Because I could envision a full factory bike under Dovi on a satellite team (like Crutchlow’s) with a group of sponsors paying Dovi what he’s worth.

    • JVB says:

      Time for Rossi’s Gp team to step up a level.

  14. Bob K says:

    Good on Andrea. Racing at this level is way too risky and a career can end at any moment. He should be paid what he’s worth to Ducati’s reputation.
    Lorenzo REQUIRES a different kind of bike for his style. He rides a certain way, period, and has shown over the years he can’t adapt to a particular bike’s character if it’s different than his own. He should go to Suzuki.

  15. blitz11 says:

    Typical bone-headed pseudo-management weaselness. Promote/overpay the unproductive, and hold-back/underpay the productive. It’s a bit comforting to know it’s not just my workplace, but it escalates even to MotoGP.

    • Bob K says:

      I’m sure Ducati had different expectations of Lorenzo, but I think every spectator of GP knew that Lorenzo’s style was never going to mesh with the Duc and it’s inherent understeer. Why they couldn’t see what the paying public saw, I do not know…

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      To be fair, Lorenzo was quite productive when Ducati signed him, and Dovi wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire. Dovi’s performance last year surprised everyone. I wonder if Ducati suspects it may have been a fluke? I also think they have a sour taste in their mouths after having thrown so much money at Rossi and Lorenzo with nothing to show for it.

      I don’t think they will be so free with their wallet in the future. Dovi has never won a championship and has only come close just once. He has earned a raise, but I don’t think he or anyone else is going to see Lorenzo money at Ducati without demonstrated achievement first.

  16. Kent says:

    Ducati seems to make a habit of treating its top riders with disrespect. Loris Capirossi, Casey Stoner and now Dovisioso. Meanwhile, they have thrown foolish money after Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, who have won nothing for them. Puzzling.

    • Bob K says:

      Didn’t treat NH69 too well either. Ducati’s arrogance wouldn’t listen to Nicky’s input to make a better bike. More of the same when Rossi came along. According to Ducati, riders are just a tool, like a wrench or something. Dare not disagree with their race engineers.

    • VLJ says:

      Only in hindsight could Rossi’s Ducati contract be called foolish. At the time he signed up for Ducati, everyone thought it the dream marriage of the Italian superstar finally riding the beloved Italian icon, and the pairing of Rossi and Jerry Burgess had already left one championship-winning team to turn another brand’s under-performing dog into an immediate (and perennial) championship-winning monster. There was no reason to think those two wouldn’t do it again. Rossi was only one season removed from his most recent title, he’d won championships on every type of bike over which he ever threw a leg (small two-stroke, large two-stroke, 1000cc four-stroke, 800cc four-stroke), and Ducati was only a few season’s removed from their own 2007 title with Casey Stoner.

      Lorenzo was a very different story. Upon the news of Jorge’s decision to swap his blue leathers for red, everyone and their brother immediately predicted that his singular riding style would never mesh with the recalcitrant Ducati. How could it ever work? Jorge has always displayed the same maddening penchant for mailing in his performances whenever the moon and stars didn’t align just right for him on any given weekend, and now he’s heading off to ride THAT thing? Before Jorge ever turned a wheel on the red bike, everyone rightly assumed that this was a marriage doomed to failure.

      • guu says:

        “Rossi and Jerry Burgess had already left one championship-winning team to turn another brand’s under-performing dog into an immediate (and perennial) championship-winning monster”

        I don’t know how true that is, the bike being a dog. At least its not the whole truth. It was the 3rd year of MotoGP when Rossi went to Yamaha and he was the only Yamaha-winner that year. In the 1st year the M1 had several victories with Biaggi. In the 2nd it had none, but none of the riders were top dog in their own right either at that point in time (Biaggi was riding a Honda by then).

  17. Gerry says:

    Try this on…dump Lorenzo’s salary all on Dovi, then dump Lorenzo who is clearly inferior to Dovi on the bike. Lorenzo showed his colors in last year’s final race. Let him run back to Yamaha and take Vinales.

    • Pacer says:

      Yamaha doesn’t want him. He will be lucky is Suzuki does.

      • Anonymous says:

        Everyone knows that the Ducati is a monster motor In an uncomfortable chassis.

        Lorenzo is a finesse rider who does well on a good handling bike, by carrying lots of corner speed. He rides like Pedrosa, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Honda recruits him to be #2 behind Marc Marquez. Its obvious that Lorenzo is just trying to finish his contract with Ducati without highlight-reel-worthy highsides.

        • Hot Dog says:

          JLo on a Honda. Interesting thought….

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          The Honda is a point and shoot bike. That it’s the opposite of the Yamaha, no?

          • VLJ says:

            Yep, the Honda is the opposite of the Yamaha, and there is no way Lorenzo is signing up to play (a very distant) second fiddle again. He would rather be top dog at Suzuki than accept the role of Dani’s replacement as caddie to Marc Marquez.

            Whatever happens with Lorenzo, you can bet your last dollar that the one thing he won’t do is sign up to carry Marc Marquez’s bag every weekend. Moreover, Honda isn’t about to pay Jorge anything like #1 Rider $$, not when they already have to pay a king’s ransom to Marc, and Jorge sure as shootin’ isn’t willing to take a massive pay cut just to be #93’s shoeshine boy.

          • Hot Dog says:

            You’ve got to admit that it’d be a good way to get under Yamaha’s skin.

          • Pacer says:

            You’re assuming he could ride the Yamaha.

          • Pacer says:

            I meant Honda. It didn’t allow me to edit. Oh well.

          • Anonymous says:

            Anyone can ride the Honda if 140 pound Pedrosa can.

            I don’t get how the Honda is a “point and shoot” bike when Marquez holds the record for highest lean angle… He’s got tons of talent, but clearly the bike isn’t holding him back in corners.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Lean angle isn’t quite the same thing as corner speed. Riding a point and shoot style, which Marquez clearly does on the Honda doesn’t mean the bike won’t be leaned over as far as humanly possible. It just means the rider aims to spend as little time as necessary leaned over.

            Pedrosa also has to ride a point and shoot to ride the Honda. And while I agree with you that he can ride the Honda, he clearly doesn’t do it with great success. I don’t know if Lorenzo could or not, but I wouldn’t bet a world champion’s salary on it.

          • VLJ says:

            I think most people now assume that Lorenzo couldn’t ride the Honda very well, either. As is the case with the slow-to-transition/deliberate-steering Ducati, the point-and-shoot Honda is also the wrong type of bike for his style.

            The two bikes besides the Yamaha that would work best for Lorenzo’s smooth, precise, flowing, corner-speed-based style are the sweet-handling Suzuki and Aprilia, but Jorge would pull his hair out over the relative lack of power from those two bikes, especially the Aprilia.

            Still, unless Yamaha will take him back, his best bet for success now is with the Suzuki. He might be outgunned, but at least with that bike he could get back to riding like himself whenever the weather is just right.

          • TimC says:

            “whenever the weather is just right”


          • Brinskee says:

            VLJ – have you seen the recent articles highlighting the new Aprilia motor? Apparently it has much more power – as outlined by their decent results at COTA. Aprilia might actually be the bike for JL99…

  18. Dave says:

    Aside from Marquez and Rossi, I would think every single MotoGP rider with a decent bike under him would feel that their job was in jeopardy if Dovi were to be on the market. Ducati should just re-allocate a chunk of Lorenzo’s salary to him.

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