Dovizioso holds Honda/Suzuki MotoGP talks as he awaits Ducati offer
|By Oriol Puigdemont and Irene Aneas||Wednesday, March 21st 2018, 12:00 GMT|
Andrea Dovizioso has been in talks with Honda and Suzuki, Autosport has learned, while awaiting a firm offer from his current MotoGP employer Ducati.
Dovizioso led Ducati's first proper MotoGP title charge this decade last year - winning six races and finishing runner-up to Marc Marquez.
Last weekend, he won the 2018 season-opener in Qatar to assume an early lead in the riders' championship.
Dovizioso, who joined Ducati from Tech3 Yamaha in 2013, is believed to be on a base annual salary of around €2million, while current team-mate Jorge Lorenzo is reported to have cost Ducati around €12m per year when he was lured from Yamaha for last season.
Having so far roundly outperformed Lorenzo in their time as team-mates, Dovizioso - whose deal, like Lorenzo's, expires at the end of the year - wants to Ducati to convince him of its commitment with its next offer.
A source close to Dovizioso told Autosport: "Dovi wants to feel valued. He isn't going to accept excuses like the amount of money they have to pay his team-mate."
Medium-term opportunities at MotoGP's leading works teams are already in limited supply, with Yamaha re-signing Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales on two-year deals, and Honda keeping hold of reigning champion Marc Marquez until 2020.
But potential openings exist at Honda and Suzuki, and Dovizioso is understood to have been talking to both teams.
There remains the possibility that Marquez's current Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa will be replaced at the end of the year.
Dovizioso began his MotoGP career with Honda, starting out at its satellite team JiR in 2008 before spending three years in the works squad.
Suzuki, which endured a difficult 2017 but has made a more promising start to '18, does not have any rider deals in place beyond the current season.
Despite the Honda and Suzuki talks, Dovizioso's priority remains extending his existing relationship with Ducati.