Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall’Igna chose not to pour fuel on the fire when given the opportunity to respond to recent criticism by Andrea Dovizioso over his Ducati exit.

In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Dovizioso declared that Ducati had not been 'transparent' over his future, believing - in hindsight - a decision was already taken not to re-sign him for 2021 after a heated technical meeting with Dall’Igna during 2019.

Dovizioso pointed to an interview Dall’Igna had made in which he spoke of 'knowing in mid-2019 that it would end with Dovizioso', comments which the #4 took as "confirmation' his mind had been made up there and then.

"Let's say that there was no transparent behaviour, unlike [team-mate] Petrucci, who was told before the season that there would be no room [at Ducati for 2021]," said Dovizioso.

"There was never a real proposal," Dovizioso added. "It was said that Dovizioso asked for this or Ducati could give this... all lies. We never negotiated, above all an offer never arrived. And, therefore, we have never rejected a low one. It is confirmation that in the 2019 meeting it was over for Gigi."

Dovizioso also said that his working relationship with Dall’Igna had eventually deteriorated from "30% to 0".

Asked by SkySports.it for his response, Dall’Igna replied: "We evaluated Dovizioso's interview: it was a very long [rider-team] relationship, the longest in Ducati's history, but I don't think the media is the right place to talk about it.

"We both gave our best to bring home the best possible result. Stories end among professionals. I'm sorry when a rider makes such criticisms, I have many collaborators to manage to make certain decisions.

"Andrea was an important collaborator, but stories are destined to end."

While Dall’Igna opted to retain something of a dignified silence and focus on the future, Crash.net can shine some light on the factory's version of events.

Was it over after the 2019 meeting between Dall’Igna and Dovizioso?

Following the 'confrontation' between Dall’Igna and Dovizioso at the 2019 technical meeting, it was Ducati's impression that reaching a future deal with Dovizioso would be difficult, but they insist it was not a final decision.

Did Dovizioso receive an offer from Ducati for 2021?

As Dovizioso said, no official offer was received from Ducati for 2021.

Why? During preliminary contact with Dovizioso's manager in the spring of 2020, the triple MotoGP title runner-up's salary 'expectations' were said to be far beyond what Ducati felt it could offer, especially given the emerging Covid pandemic.

With no obvious solution to break the deadlock, Ducati opted to wait until after the first few races of the season and then decide. That was still the situation when Dovizioso announced, in mid-August (at round five in Austria), that he would not be renewing for the team in 2021, his manager adding "we never spoke specifically of the economic side".

Dovizioso then took what would be his 14th and final race win for Ducati that same weekend.

With Jack Miller already chosen over Petrucci, fellow Pramac rider Francesco Bagnaia was later signed to replace Dovizioso at Ducati's Official team this season.

"Miller grew during the final rounds of 2020, he had fantastic races and if he still has that form he will be among the contenders to take home the title," Dall’Igna said in the Sky interview. "But Bagnaia has also done great things in many races: I hope to have two good 'points' to play for the World Championship."

With the other top rides already taken by the time he announced his Ducati exit, Dovizioso has decided to take a year out with the aim of returning in 2022.

 

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