It’s hard to find a greater demonstration of confidence than what Ducati currently projects. We will have to see what impact last Sunday’s result has on the strategy of the Italian brand, in Aragon, where Fabio Quartararo arrived with more than a race lead (30 points) over Bagnaia at the head of the general table, and from where It was with a mattress of only ten points and with a body full of bruises, as a result of the hair-raising fall he suffered in the first round. Those ten points could have been reduced to five if it hadn’t been for the voracity of Enea Bastianini, who, after giving in in Misano to the one who will be his next teammate in the red bike workshop, took revenge at Motorland, in a final lap of heart attack and with an overtaking that, yes, seemed to have completely controlled. The waste of power of the Beast was as impressive or more than that of Ducati, which accumulates some scandalous numbers and seems to deserve the role of favorite to win the drivers’ title, because the constructors already celebrated it in Alcañiz.
The Ducati team celebrates the victory of the constructors’ world championship
Photo by: Ducati Corse
Bagnaia claimed his fifth pole position of the season on Saturday and the 12th for the Bologna manufacturer – he had never before accumulated so many in a single exercise – in a figure that reflects better than any other the speed that the Desmosedici hide. The last five stops on the calendar have been shared between the Turinese (four) and Bastianini (one), who account for two thirds (ten) of the 15 victories that have been put at stake. The other five are divided between Quartararo (three), Aleix Espargaró and Miguel Oliveira, with one each. As was already clear in San Marino and as most of their rivals acknowledge, both are in another dimension. That is great news for the Italian company as the championship enters the stage where everything has to be resolved.
At this point, there are many who consider that Ducati is already late in establishing the team orders to try to clear the ground for Bagnaia, who, if he achieves his goal, would become the second world champion in the history of the firm. , after Casey Stoner (2007). However, it is not so clear that the interventionism of the executives favors more the common interests than the current approach. Right now, all of Ducati’s paid riders know that they can go for the win if they have the chance, as Bastianini made clear on Sunday. But it is that, in addition to all that, Bagnaia has shown that he is enough on his own to measure himself short with Quartararo, at least for now. While it is true that El Diablo would surely have finished in the top five in Alcañiz had he not crashed, the math is not in dispute, and the #63 has cut him 81 points in the last five races.
The general feeling is that, after the first third of the World Cup in which it was difficult to find the point for the 2022 prototype, this year’s Desmosedici, at least in the hands of Bagnaia, already offers better performance than the previous model, the that drives the Beast. And with the manifest lack of power of Quartararo’s Yamaha, when one is not in charge, it is the other. The feeling of power that currently emanates from the Ducati workshop is enormous, and for that alone, and because the World Championship is more open than ever, it is surely worth not making any changes to the register.
Enea Bastianini, Gresini Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Both Bagnaia and Bastianini made it clear, at Misano and at Motorland, that they know what they have to do because they are fully aware of what is at stake. And if those responsible for the factory that pays their salaries did not introduce team orders when Quartararo was at ease, with several grand prix ahead of them, it will be difficult for them to consider it until the championship is closer to being decided. Despite that, within the official team itself there are two lines of thought. There are those who believe that having so many bikes and so competitive can get in the way of those who should champion the options of winning the jackpot at the end of the course, as happened in the first section of this exercise. And then there are those who believe that it is not, that this always plays in favor. Meanwhile, the last two winners have already begun to compete for the role of spearhead of the official team of 2023.
“Ducati is right to give its riders freedom. It is true that, in the final laps, you never have the situation totally under control. But both Bagnaia and Bastianini have options to win the World Championship, and in the grand prix outside Europe Many things can happen. They do well to let them run”, agreed Marc Márquez, involuntary protagonist in Aragón. For the Honda rider, the progression followed by the boy from Rimini makes him fully deserving of the role of favorite to win in any of the five scenarios that the paddock must visit. “Bastianini has surprised me because now he is also fast in practice. Before he used to classify poorly, but he did very well in the second parts of the races. Now not anymore, he always goes fast, so he will be a clear candidate for next year”, Spanish added.
“Enea and I are making a difference. As I see it, at Ducati we are eight riders who go faster every day. Enea is motivated, and together we push each other, because if he is fast I know that I can also to be,” Bagnaia argued this Sunday, before traveling to Japan, where next Sunday he will have a new opportunity to show that he does not need to receive help from the offices to achieve his goal. In the current circumstances, and after the brutal comeback he has staged, risking victories with Bastianini probably worries him less than having to do so with Quartararo.
Enea Bastianini, Gresini Racing, Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images