“If there is no place for me in MotoGP then I will look for something, but I haven’t thought about World Superbike,” he told the MotoGP Roundtable podcast. “I have more interest in switching to another speciality – I want to do the Dakar, because MotoGP and the Dakar are completely opposite worlds. I have already had an offer to ride a Dakar bike but at the moment I’m focused on MotoGP.
“In the past Ducati has offered me a World Superbike ride more than once, but I always tell them I can win in MotoGP. I don’t know if I’m ready to fight for the title, but if we go back to the start of last season I don’t think anybody thought I would win a race or fight for third place in the championship [Petrucci was third on points from Assen to Silverstone].
“I haven’t thought about a switch to World Superbike because I don’t think I’ve reached my 100 per cent in MotoGP and I think I can do more. For sure I like superbikes, but I’m not thinking about that. I’m going for the A-plan, I’m not looking at the B-plan. When the A-plan is not possible then I will look for a plan B.”
Fighting for his ride is nothing new to Petrucci. He has done one-year contracts with Ducati pretty much every year since the factory first signed him in 2015, to partner Columbian Yonny Hernandez at Pramac Ducati. And he first heard about Ducati lining up Miller to take his season during last year’s Grand Prix of the Americas!
“Already at Austin there was a rumour that Jack would take my seat. It’s not nice when you hear Ducati is looking for other riders, but this is life…”
“I’m very disappointed because I’ll miss the races where usually I’m strong. But there is nothing I can do about that, so it’s another test for me: can I be fast at tracks where I’m not usually very, very fast? I have a big opportunity to prove to Ducati that I’m ready to fight for something bigger and I have to take that chance 100 per cent.”
His other concern is that his rival for the 2021 Ducati factory seat alongside Miller is a good friend.
“Sincerely I don’t want Ducati to put me against Andrea. I have a very good relationship with Andrea and I don’t want to be put in competition with him, because we are already in competition. All I can do this year is prove that I’m a rider who can win some races.”
When Petrucci joined Dovizioso in the factory team at the end of 2018 the former 125cc world champion invested a lot of time and energy in helping Petrucci improve. He did this out of friendship and out of his desire to have a team-mate that could help him beat Marc Márquez and Honda.
This suited Ducati’s new philosophy. Instead of having two winning riders – Dovizioso and Lorenzo – who could win races but at the same time take points off each other Ducati would have two riders who would work together with the aim of making Ducati and Dovizioso would champions.
This system worked well enough until last June’s Italian GP at Mugello, where Petrucci won a famous victory, passing both Márquez and Dovizioso on the last lap.
Dovizioso’s post-race face was of thunder. He had helped Petrucci and what had he got in return? But what else could he have expected?