The 2018 MotoGP season has kicked off with a thrilling race in Qatar! Just like last year, Johann Zarco pulled out to an early lead, but unlike last year, he kept that lead for almost the entire race. It was all for naught, though, as Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso passed him in the final stages and duked it out. In the end, Dovi beat Marquez across the finish line, re-sparking their 2017 championship feud. This championship push that Dovi is experiencing may be partially due to the incredible performance of Ducati’s current GP bike, which makes the fact that Dovi is entertaining offers from other manufacturers quite startling.
Will Dovi Part Ways with Ducati?
According to rumors in Europe, Andrea Dovizioso’s contract with Ducati is only around $2.5 million. That seems kind of low for the man who finished last year’s championship as runner-up to Mark Marquez. By comparison, Dovi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo—a three-time world champion—has underperformed on almost every outing on the Ducati, and he gets paid a rumored $14.8 million. With rider contracts expiring at the end of this season, it puts Dovi in an extremely advantageous negotiating position.
It is now obvious that Andrea Dovisioso has championship-caliber talent, and he is going to demand champion-level pay from whoever signs him. That definitely won’t be Yamaha, which has already given two-year extensions to its riders, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales. However, Suzuki has yet to sign on riders for either of its two bikes, and though Honda has already re-signed Marquez, Dani Pedrosa has yet to receive a contract offer. Now, several motorcycle racing news sources are reporting that Dovizioso has been in talks with both Honda and Suzuki.
This revelation means that Ducati will definitely have to dig down deep in order to retain Dovi’s services. However, the factory may be willing to do that, considering Claudio Domenicali’s veiled admission that Lorenzo will not be paid the high salary he demanded if he stays at Ducati. Considering the success Dovi has had at the Italian factory, it also seems unlikely that he’ll jump ship from Ducati. However, it is clear that his services are in demand, and if Ducati can’t deliver on a good deal, it could lose the best rider its had since Casey Stoner.
The motorcycling attorneys at Metier Law Firm are on the edge of their seats this motorcycling season, and it’s just getting started! Keep following our blog to stay up-to-date on the latest coming out of the MotoGP paddock.