Petrucci & Miller 'competing' for Ducati ride at Mugello
Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller are "competing" to ride for the factory Ducati team in 2020 ahead of this week's Italian Grand Prix, according to sporting director Pablo Ciabatti.
Sunday's race at the famous circuit in Mugello is typically well suited to the Ducati machines - they have won there in each of the past two years, with the home support now hoping for a third straight success.
One of the emerging storylines of the 2019 season has been the form of Miller and Petrucci, with debate over who will earn next year's seat alongside Andrea Dovizioso.
Australian Miller, who rides for Pramac Racing on the same Desmosedici GP19 as Dovizioso and Petrucci, briefly led the French Grand Prix last time out and has three top-four finishes to his name this season.
But Petrucci notched his first podium of the season at that race in Le Mans, setting up an intriguing battle at a flagship event for Ducati, who say they are likely to make a decision after the next two races.
"Danilo's podium was very important," Ciabatti told Motorsport.com. "He did exactly what Ducati is asking of him, which is to run in front without doing anything crazy.
"Everybody got nervous after the first three races, but now he's showing his progress. Danilo is under the same pressure as Miller because both have a one-year contract and are competing for the same goal.
"One wants a promotion, the second wants a renewal. We'll have to see how the next two rounds go [in Mugello and Barcelona], then we'll discuss the situation and take a decision."
Petrucci has a close relationship with Dovizioso, who finished second in Le Mans and trails MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez by eight points.
Alex Marquez, who won the Moto2 race in France and is brother of the Repsol Honda star, has been linked with replacing Miller at Pramac should he move on next season.