Andrea Dovizioso says he is getting “closer” to agreeing a fresh deal to remain at the Ducati MotoGP team beyond the end of the 2018 season.
Last year’s championship runner-up is known to have been pressuring Ducati to reward him for his 2017 success, and even rejected the Italian marque’s initial 2019/20 offer.
However, speaking ahead of this weekend’s Le Mans race, Dovizioso suggested that an agreement may now be close to being reached – albeit noting that are “some details” still to be resolved.
“Yes, we are a bit closer than before,” said the Italian. “The situation improved in the last few days and I am happy because I found a lot of support from a lot of people in a lot of areas.
“This is really good, this is really positive for me, really happy about that and we will see still remaining some details, my manager will arrive tonight [and] we will continue to speak about that.”
Dovizioso’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo admits he has “nothing new” on his future to report, but says he was buoyed by his form at Jerez and believes a repeat in the upcoming races could strengthen his position.
The Spaniard led a race for the first time this year at Jerez and was set for a top-four finish before becoming embroiled in a three-way collision with Dovizioso and the Honda of Dani Pedrosa.
“I think with the circumstances, with not such a good feeling I have in the first few races with the bike, and the bad luck we have in Jerez, we couldn’t demonstrate our true potential and the position we deserve,” said Lorenzo.
“So let’s hope that in these three tracks [Le Mans, Mugello, Barcelona] we can make these results happen and then be in a better position to negotiate.
“The priority is for this moment trying to finish what I started, so I have confidence in Ducati that we’ll make a bike that fits better in the future to my riding and I could be as competitive as in the past.
“Obviously it’s a two-part thing and both parties must be willing to continue, so let’s see. This a sport where just one, two or three good results [means] that everything is seen in different colours, no?”
Lorenzo’s other option besides remaining at Ducati is a switch to Suzuki, where he would replace Andrea Iannone alongside the now re-signed Alex Rins.
Iannone is understood to have attracted interest from both Aprilia and Pramac Ducati, and indicated on Thursday that his future is likely to be resolved in “a few days”.
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont