After a most erratic first half of the course, in which he was only able to accumulate 81 points in ten races, Pecco Bagnaia found the key to square the Desmosedici to his liking. Since then, his progress has been meteoric, to the point of having recovered 105 points from the then leader, Fabio Quartararo, in the last eight stops on the calendar.
The inertia of the Turinese is diametrically opposed to that of the Frenchman, who in Australia added his fourth zero of the year, a circumstance that made him lose the baton of the general table. In the absence of only two grand prix for the World Cup to lock in Valencia on November 6, Quartararo must finish ahead of his main rival in the brawl for the crown, to, at least, take the duel to Cheste. On the contrary, if Bagnaia wins in Sepang and the Devil does not get on the podium, Ducati will be able to celebrate the second MotoGP title in its history, after the one Casey Stoner won in 2007.
Right now, the Italian and his prototype are undoubtedly the sharpest combination on the grid. And, apart from that, Ducati contributes eight of the 24 bikes on the grid, a circumstance that allows it to have the strategic factor.
Since the options of the #63 gained strength again, the Borgo Panigale factory has advised the rest of its riders not to complicate the life of their main bet for the championship. If they have the option of winning a race or getting on the podium they are free to go for it, even if it means overtaking Bagnaia. But don’t shoot him.
Both Johann Zarco, in Thailand, and Marco Bezzecchi, in Australia, could have tried to overtake their theoretical leader and have gained a position in the final classification, but they decided against it.
In Australia Motorsport.com asked the new leader of the contest if this deployment by Ducati was a relief or added pressure. He, as always, insisted that he does not need anyone’s help to do what, until now, he has done on his own.
“I’ve won four races in a row, six in total, with no team orders, no help from any other driver, so I don’t think I need them,” Bagnaia replied to this writer.
Despite the forcefulness of his statements, the closeness of the end of the World Cup leads him not to completely disregard the predisposition of his brand partners, in case he could come to depend on them. However, there are borders that, according to him, he would never accept: “We are reaching the final stretch of the season, and it is clear that it can help me if someone makes things a little easier for me. But I would never want any rider to let me pass” .