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Motorcycling: Dovizioso to leave Ducati, manager says

(Reuters) - Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso will not be with Ducati in 2021, bringing to an end his eight-year association with the team, his manager Simone Battistella said on Saturday.

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Dovizioso, 34, has won 13 races since joining Ducati in 2013, finishing runner-up in the championship in the last three seasons, but talks over a new contract had stalled this year.

Team manager Davide Tardozzi said on Friday that Dovizioso’s future with the team would be decided after next weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, before Battistella met Ducati on Saturday.

“We communicated today to Ducati that Andrea does not intend to continue for the next few years,” Battistella told Sky Italia.

“He now wants to focus on this championship, on these races, and let’s say we don’t feel the conditions are right to continue in the future.

“In practice we’ve never talked about the economic part ... There have been no proposals or negotiations (for next year).”

Ducati Corse sporting director Paolo Ciabatti said he met Battistella on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring ahead of the weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix but could not come to an agreement to renew Dovizioso’s contract.

“We met Simone ... and realised that unfortunately there are not the conditions to continue our relationship with Dovi beyond the end of the current contract,” Ciabatti said.

Five-times world champion Jorge Lorenzo, who retired last year and signed as a Yamaha factory test rider in January, has been linked with a return to Ducati.

“Jorge is an important rider for us. He won with us and we keep him in our hearts. We will see,” Tardozzi said.

Meanwhile, Pramac Racing’s Francesco Bagnaia, who won the Moto2 title in 2018, is also in the mix to partner Jack Miller next year.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Alison Williams

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