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Three-time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo is likely to have to accept a pay cut if he wishes to remain at Ducati in 2019, sporting director Paolo Ciabatti says.
Although Ducati has made it clear its intention is to keep both riders after their contracts expire this year, their situations have changed considerably since those deals were done.
Dovizioso’s base salary of €2million a year was agreed before he had won a race for Ducati, but last year he took seven victories and challenged Marc Marquez for the title.
Lorenzo was lured from Yamaha on a deal worth at least €12m a year but took longer than expected to acclimatise to the Ducati and did not win in his first season with the team.
The MotoGP riders under pressure in 2018
“The intention is to keep working with both riders, but our economical limit is clear,” Ciabatti told Autosport.
“We will talk with our sponsors because Telecom Italia decided to leave us and when we get an idea of how much money we can provide, then will be easier to talk to the managers [of the riders].
“What is evident is that the situation is very different compared to 2016. When we hired Jorge, he had a very important offer from Yamaha for two more years and was the current world champion.
“[Ducati CEO] Claudio Domenicali said it at the team’s launch: Ducati made an effort to attract Lorenzo’s attention, but this was in a specific moment.
“I don’t think we can give Jorge the same amount of money as when he arrived at the team.”
Ducati’s desire to “reward” Dovizioso with a salary increase could also impact when it can offer Lorenzo.
“When we renewed with Andrea, in the middle of 2016, he had never won with Ducati. We will reward what he did in 2017,” Ciabatti added.
“A rider like him, with a contract expiring at the end of this year, is in a stronger negotiating position than before.”