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Ducati: Danilo Petrucci must prove himself in 2019 MotoGP season

Ducati MotoGP sporting director Paolo Ciabatti says the onus is on Danilo Petrucci to prove he deserves his promotion to the factory team as Jorge Lorenzo's 2019 replacement

Pramac rider Petrucci was chosen to partner Andrea Dovizioso in Ducati's works team for 2019 when it split with Lorenzo, who then secured a Honda move.

Unlike the other factory riders on the MotoGP grid, Petrucci is only on a one-year deal and will be under pressure early next year to earn a contract renewal.

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He faces possible competition from current Pramac team-mate Jack Miller, as well as his replacement at the satellite squad, Moto2 champion Francesco Bagnaia, to maintain his seat alongside Dovizioso in 2020.

Miller has made little secret of the fact he is targeting Petrucci's seat for the 2020 campaign, having missed out on a 2019 promotion in favour of the Italian.

Asked whether Petrucci's one-year deal meant he would be under pressure to prove himself to Ducati, Ciabatti told Autosport: "That is a bit the truth.

"Riding for an official team means a lot of pressure, both from the media and sponsors. He has to show that he is able to get on the podium often.

"Danilo has to see the coming season as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Petrucci did not come into MotoGP via the usual Moto3/Moto2 grand prix feeder categories route, instead establishing his career in Superstock racing.

He got a MotoGP break with the small Ioda team in 2012 after winning the Italian Superstock 1000 title and spent three years there before moving to Pramac Ducati.

"His career up to this point has been very particular, and we believe he deserves the opportunity that he was offered," Ciabatti added.

"But he has to show us that the decision we have made is correct.

"It's true that a two-year contract would give him some more peace of mind, but Ducati has to be sure that its two riders are able to win races.

"That's why I think a one-year contract was the most appropriate."

Petrucci heads into this weekend's Valencia season finale targeting independent honours, lying five points behind Tech3 Yamaha's Johann Zarco in the standings.

The 28-year-old's best result this season has been second at Le Mans, his only trip to the podium of the current campaign.

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