Dovizioso announced during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend in August that he would not be extending his stay with Ducati beyond the 2020 season.
Numerous names quickly entered the frame for his spot alongside Jack Miller, with the latter’s current Pramac teammate Bagnaia and Avintia rider Zarco the favourites – while three-time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo “proposed” himself for the seat.
Bagnaia has arguably been the strongest Ducati rider this season, having been set for a podium in the Andalusian GP until a mechanical issue robbed him.
He finished second in his return from a three-race absence through injury at the San Marino GP and was on course to win the following week’s Emilia Romagna race before crashing out of the lead.
Signed to join Ducati and Pramac at the start of 2018 ahead of his title-winning run in Moto2, Bagnaia – currently 13th in the standings – will make the step to the works squad in 2021.
“I chose to be a Ducati rider even before being the Moto2 World Champion in 2018 and they chose me even before knowing that one day I would become one,” Bagnaia said.
“This was our bet, because up until that moment I had always been a fast rider, but I didn’t have anything concrete in my pocket: Ducati decided to believe it even before everyone else.
“We didn’t know how…