Last weekend’s best rumour and possibly the greatest of 2020 so far was that Jorge Lorenzo is back in talks with Ducati for a full-time ride in 2021. No, really.
Lorenzo left the Bologna factory after two seasons in 2018, joining Honda which ended up as his worst year ever and culminated in retirement.
Until he got a job as test rider for a year with his old muckas at Yamaha and found he was still quick. Then Covid19 struck, all wildcards were ditched and more than likely so will the expensive European test team be when Lin Jarvis looks at his budget for 2021 and spits his Gold Blend all over the lino.
Everyone at Ducati has denied that Lorenzo is back in the frame to replace Andrea Dovizioso but boss Paolo Ciabatti has stated no decision will be made until after the Red Bull Ring race, which is round five.
Ciabatti has also revealed that Marquez will earn €15-20m a year at Honda for the next four years, a number which put him out of reach of almost everyone.
Ducati’s approaches to Quartararo and Vinales were also unsuccessful because they both wanted to stay with Yamaha but the Spaniard was closer to switch than the youngster. However, he wanted to step out of Rossi’s shadow on the same bike.
Danilo Petrucci is all but confirmed at KTM for 2021 alongside Brad Binder which leaves a seat at Aprilia. With a good season in 2020, Bradley Smith could find himself back in a full-time ride as he will be deputising this year for Andrea Iannone until his drugs ban finally gets sorted out.
It is believed that Jorge Martin has either signed to ride for Pramac Ducati in 2021 or is on the verge which means Pecco Bagania has a couple of months to sort his shit out or the spectre of Avintia will be waving its scythe at him before September is out.
Taka Nakagami, who has no confirmed ride in 2021, tested a Honda Superbike at Motegi leading to speculation he will ride at the Suzuka Eight-Hours in November alongside Leon Haslam and possibly Alvaro Bautista or Domi Aegerter. Whether it means he is being lined up for WorldSBK by HRC is another matter.