As more places on the 2021 MotoGP grid fall into place, much now hinges on the future of Andrea Dovizioso.

Ducati's most successful rider since Casey Stoner and title runner-up to Marc Marquez for the past three seasons, the logical outcome is for Dovizioso and Ducati to extend their partnership beyond this year's disrupted campaign.

That's especially true when you consider that all other race-winning factory seats are now occupied, assuming the Espargaro-Honda rumours are correct.

But given factories normally focus on securing their most important rider first, doubts began creeping in when Ducati's opening 2021 move was not a new Dovizioso deal but signing Jack Miller to the Official team.

It seemed to underline that the Ducati-Dovizioso talks have reached some kind of stalemate, while the Espargaro rumours have opened-up an alternative at the ambitious KTM project, which would need a new team leader.

But the most likely scenario remains a new Ducati contract for Dovizioso, with a final decision expected before the season-opener at Jerez on July 19.

"We are talking to Ducati and we should know about Dovi staying for 2021 and 2022 before we go racing," Dovizioso's manager, Simone Battistella, told Crash.net.

A two-year extension - Miller has a one-year deal, with an option for 2022 - would mean Dovizioso spends at least ten seasons as a factory Ducati MotoGP rider.

Meanwhile, current team-mate Danilo Petrucci is among those waiting for Dovizioso to decide.

"It is a chessboard, which passes first through Dovi," Petrucci said of the remaining 2021 grid places.

The Italian, who already acknowledges his Ducati MotoGP career will end this year due to Miller's arrival, now has his sights set on a factory seat at Aprilia or KTM.

 

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