Ducati made official today what most of the MotoGP paddock has known for weeks: Andrea Dovizioso will join Nicky Hayden on the Marlboro-backed team, the Italian signing a two-year contract to replace Valentino Rossi.
Dovizioso currently sits fourth in the 2012 MotoGP World Championship on the Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha. His signing ends any speculation that his current Tech 3 teammate Cal Crutchlow would be joining the Ducati team. Crutchlow is currently considering offers from Tech 3, Gresini Honda and a return to the World Superbike Championship.
"The agreement reached with Andrea Dovizioso confirms the company's primary interest in racing, which is an active and strategic part of Ducati's DNA and heritage," said Ducati president Gabriele Del Torchio. "It is with great pleasure that I welcome Andrea, as we marshal our best efforts in confronting the MotoGP World Championship. Along with Nicky Hayden, with whom we have renewed a working agreement, we are confident that we will be able to proceed with our development program, to compete, and to obtain the results and rewards that will repay our efforts and the faith that our partners, sponsors and fans have never failed to demonstrate."
Filippo Preziosi, the general manager of Ducati Corse, says part of the allure of having Dovizioso on the team is his testing abilities and technical know-how.
"Andrea's technical sensibility and test-riding abilities are of great value, as are his talent and determination," Preziosi said. "The knowledge that we will have him on our team and be able to count on his collaboration serves as an additional incentive to continue with the growth and development of our MotoGP project. I'm pleased that he has chosen to be a part of our team. He is aware of the work to be done, and he approaches it with enthusiasm and confidence, which are fundamental requirements for achieving success and for competing in this challenging championship."
The 26-year-old Dovizioso won the 125cc World Championship in 2004.