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A new era: Ducati look to the future with Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia

Traditionally among the favourites to claim the MotoGP championship, Ducati's recent inability to convert their reputation into titles has resulted in a new era for 2021.

For the past eight years, Andrea Dovizioso was a mainstay for Bologna and did come close to glory, finishing runners-up in the riders' championship between 2017 to 2019.

The decision to part ways with a proven competitor in the 34-year-old Italian was a gutsy decision, but Ducati are looking toward the future with new riders for the new campaign.

In Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati may not reap rewards in 2021 but could be taking the first steps towards future dominance.

Both Miller and Bagnaia were works-supported runners with the satellite team Pramac Racing Team, and did make quite an impression with some indomitable displays throughout the course of last season -- with the former achieving four podium finishes while the latter claimed a runner-up finish at the San Marino Grand Prix.

Ducati's general manager Gigi Dall'Igna has said this is a perfect opportunity for a fresh change of riders and offered his full backing to the two emerging talents.

It would be fair to say the management crew is not expecting their new riders to make an immediate impact in the championship battle, and rather look at the coming campaign as the start of a new rebuilding phase. But it would also be premature to completely rule them out from contending as soon as this year.

Ducati's future looks bright, provided they can reap what they sow in Bagnaia and Miller and the title moves closer to their grasp in the near future.

What they said

Francesco Bagnaia: "This will be a significant season for me because for the first time I'll be wearing the colours of an official team. I'm proud to have achieved this first goal, and this year I will set my sight on even greater results.

"It has always been my dream to become part of the official Ducati team. I will try my best not to disappoint any expectations. I'm sure I have all that I need to be competitive right from the start and aim high."

Jack Miller: "The emotions I felt seeing my all-red Desmosedici and wearing my new suit for the first time were incredible.

"I still have to realise that I'll be part of the official Ducati Team this year. It's taken a long way to get this far, and finally being 'in red' gives me a great sense of satisfaction, but also the right motivation to continue working with commitment and dedication towards my future goals."

As the lights go out...

"It was a pretty disastrous campaign for the Bologna bullets last year -- fourth in the team championship was their worst result since 2013, so they'll be hoping for a fresh start with an all new partnership," says Edward Russell, FOX Sports Asia's MotoGP presenter.

"Miller and Bagnaia may only have one MotoGP race win between them, but both showed plenty of podium promise for Pramac last year, and Miller in particular had a fantastic end to the season.

"The Australian has looked fearsome in preseason testing, and if Bagnaia can find some consistency, Ducati might look an entirely different prospect in 2021."

2021 will be a success if: Bagnaia and Miller can seize their opportunity with the factory team and build on their existing camaraderie and chemistry with one eye on the near future. Any immediate success would be a welcome bonus.