Bagnaia: ‘I don’t want to be part’ of factory Ducati team-mate talks

Whether it’s Jorge Martin or Enea Bastianini, MotoGP’s latest race winner Francesco Bagnaia is unconcerned who his team-mate will be next season, as long as they ‘understand our work and try to be part of the team’.
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Assen
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Assen

With several riders having already inked deals to join new teams for the 2023 MotoGP season, Ducati’s factory seat alongside Bagnaia will also be one of those. 

Even before Jack Miller signed a two-year deal with KTM, it was clear that either Martin or Bastianini would join Bagnaia next season. However, it remains to be seen which of the two will get that opportunity. 

An initial decision was expected during the Italian MotoGP at Mugello, but with the team wanting more time to assess its options, a decision is now likely to come during or after the summer break. 

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Martin appeared to be the favourite for the factory seat earlier this season, but after several crashes and Bastianini winning three races in seven, Ducati’s decision became a lot more complicated.

Had Bastianini kept up that form then the factory seat would have likely been his. But in recent rounds it’s the Italian who has made mistakes, while Martin has re-found his form. 

Keen to not participate in such talks, Bagnaia said the decision is not one he’s worried about after joking that fellow VR46 Academy rider Marco Bezzecchi would be ‘great to have’ alongside him. 

Speaking after victory in Assen, Bagnaia said: "It could be great to have Marco as a team-mate. But I don’t want to talk about this, I don’t want to be part of this argument. Whoever will be [the choice] will be okay for me. Just understand our work and try to be part of the team."

GP21 Ducati ‘is a really great bike’, says Bagnaia - better than the 2018-spec MotoGP bike he rode as a rookie

Joining Bagnaia on the podium in Assen was MotoGP rookie Bezzecchi, as the Italian managed to surprisingly keep pace with Bagnaia until the final few laps. 

Marco Bezzecchi, Dutch MotoGP race, 26 June
Marco Bezzecchi, Dutch MotoGP race, 26 June

Better yet, Bezzecchi took a comfortable podium finish with the GP21 bike, a machine that fellow rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio has also begun to find serious form with. 

Given the fact Bastianini is also on last year’s machinery and has won three times, it’s fair to say Ducati have provided its young riders with a very complete, yet fast package.

But that wasn’t always the case as Bagnaia claimed the 2018-spec machine he rode in 2019 was far from being ‘competitive like this’. 

"Looking at the results from the riders with the 21 [bike] and the rookies, I think it’s a really great bike to start with," said Bagnaia. 

"It was already very competitive last year. When I started in MotoGP with my rookie bike it wasn’t competitive like this. We were some tenths slower. 

"The first time I saw Marco [Bezzecchi] or Diggia or even Enea [Bastianini] with the 21. I was thinking they would be very competitive from the start because it’s a really great bike and is very close to my one. 

"It’s quite clear that the riders with the 21 bike - when they need to overtake a limit then maybe they have some more problems, but they are doing a great job. 

"This bike was already so competitive last year and was the best one [on the grid]. It’s a really great bike to start with."

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