With eight bikes on the grid, (nine including wild-card Michele Pirro this weekend) Ducati has more opportunities than any other manufacturer to assist Bagnaia’s championship challenge through team orders.

Ducati has suggested that with seven rounds remaining it is far too early to issue any direct instructions.

But it seems the other Desmosedici riders have already received some ‘rules of engagement’ for battling with Bagnaia.

“[Gigi] Dall’Igna said ‘if you have the opportunity to get the victory, we do not take [from] the rider this opportunity, so go for it, but be clever,” said Pramac’s Johann Zarco.

“[But] if in case of a race with Pecco and you are fighting for 4th-5th position, maybe out of the podium, it can be clever to give him the way to get a bit more points.

“But talking about the victory, [Dall’Igna] said ‘if you can take it, take it’, because he knows how important a victory is and he doesn't want to remove this feeling from all the [other] riders.”

'No sense to fight against Bagnaia over 5th-6th'

Zarco’s team-mate Jorge Martin confirmed: “At the end, we all want to win a race. I did it last year. I want to repeat it this year at some point. But for sure, if we are battling for 5th-6th position it’s no sense to fight against Bagnaia.”

Enea Bastianini, the only Ducati rider other than Bagnaia to have won races this year and newly confirmed alongside his fellow Italian at the factory team for 2023, said:

“It's important to help Pecco to win this title, but also it’s important for me to win the race.

“I think this battle [will] probably arrive on Sunday because I think all the Ducatis are very competitive here, but also the Italian riders and in any case, we are here to win the race and we try to do this.”

The Gresini rider added: “I think it depends from the [results] of the free practice sessions if we have to make some [Ducati] strategy on Sunday.”

Bagnaia took victory at the first Misano round last season, but then fell from the lead in the second.

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro is currently sandwiched between Quartararo and Bagnaia in the world championship standings.