Ducati pays for “mistakes” and “bad luck” this season.

Ducati is having a bumpy first half of the season. The Italian marque won most of the races held, five out of nine, but the first three successes were won by Enea Bastianini via the Gresini team and on the 2021 version of the Desmosedici, while the official team had greater difficulties with the new model.

After pre-season testing was deemed too intense and incompatible with the adjustment work needed to excel in GP22, Pecco Bagnaia won again at Jerez, round six of the season and added a second at Mugello, but the last few months have also been marked by three retirements since he made a mistake at Losail and at Le Mans before paying the price for the first corner accident at Barcelona. Bastianini also made mistakes and has two failures in the fall.

None of the brand’s eight representatives has managed to stay on top consistently this year, giving Fabio Quartararo a lead of more than 50 points over Bastianini and Johann Zarco, while Bagnaia has dropped to 66 points. With two races to go before the summer break, Frenchman’s main rival is Aleix Espargaró, second with 22 points. Claudio Domenicali therefore draws a first mixed balance and admits too many mistakes on the part of both Ducati and the pilots.

“The ranking certainly doesn’t reward the effort”the CEO of the Italian manufacturer complained to GPOne. “We made technical mistakes at the start, the bike wasn’t ready and Bastianini took advantage of that because he had a ready bike from the start. The riders also made mistakes, Enea fell twice in a row and it’s hard to fight for the title when other riders like Fabio and Aleix haven’t made even the slightest mistake.”

Pecco Bagnaya

“We also had a lot of bad luck because Pecco was difficult to criticize in the last race, but we didn’t get any points at a time when it was important to win and where Bagnaia was very strong, certainly beaten by Quartararo. “

Ducati still wants to rate Bastianini and Martín

Ducati must also prepare for the 2023 season and call up Jack Miller’s successor to its official squad as the Australian’s departure to KTM was confirmed last week. The brand had already expressed a desire to wait until the summer to make their choice between Enea Bastianini and Jorge Martín, the two clearly named candidates, and Domenicali confirmed that the decision will not be taken. “in the next two races” and “Nationality doesn’t matter” even if Bastianini seemed to be the favourite.

The Italian shone with three wins, while Jorge Martín excelled with four crashes in as many races between Portimão and Mugello. The trend appears to be reversing as Bastianini remains on two white results and Martín has claimed his second podium of the year in Barcelona. The two riders develop in a different context, Ducati wants to evaluate them over time and Domenicali sweeps away the idea that this process can increase the weight on their shoulders.

Enea Bastianini has won three races but stays with two falls

Enea Bastianini has won three races but stays with two falls

“I don’t believe in those things. If we sign them early, they make mistakes because they’re under pressure.” [de valider la confiance placée en eux], if it’s late, it’s the same. They are commercial pilots and they are good. We want Bastianini and Martín with us for the future, they are part of our plans and we are working on them. I don’t think it’s the right time to make all the assessments, also because nobody was able to fully express themselves.”

Because, as Domenicali pointed out, Bastianini started the season with a fully proven machine, unlike Martín, who has the 2022 model in the Pramac team: “Jorge has had surgery [la semaine dernière] and at first his bike wasn’t ready. You have to give them some time.”

In all likelihood, the rider who is not voted into the factory team will be offered a handlebar in the Pramac team, alongside a Zarco whose renewal is imminent and with the same machine: “However, [Bastianini et Martín] will have exactly the same chances next year because they will have two completely identical bikes [de dernière génération]. On a sporting level they will start from the same point, on a technical level too.

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