Official: MotoGP champion Bagnaia to race with #1, can he break the 'curse'?

Francesco Bagnaia is to become the first MotoGP champion since Casey Stoner to race with the #1 plate.
Bagnaia #1 plate
Bagnaia #1 plate

The Italian, who won Ducati’s first world title since Stoner in 2007 using the #63 last season, finally revealed his decision during this morning’s team launch in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy.

"It was a complicated process, but I finally picked the number at the photo shoot last week," said Bagnaia, who won seven races last year.

"It has been a long time since we saw the #1 in MotoGP. I've always admired people racing with #1. It represents your identity as a world champion.

"63 will always be my number and I will use it together with the number 1. So I'll have a small 63 inside the #1 and on my helmet.

"My original number was 21 and with it I won my first race Moto3. Then with the double of 21, I won the title in Moto2. And with the triple of the 21, I won the title in MotoGP. So 63 means a lot of things to me and I'm very close to that number.

"So in my plate I will have the number 1, and also the pitboard. But for the rest, I will remain with the number 63, in the box and for many things. 63 will be my number as always because I think people identify me with the number 63."

Winning the premier-class title with the #1 plate is something that eluded the likes of Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Nicky Hayden. Indeed, the last time a rider took the #1 to title glory in the premier class was back in the 500cc era, with Mick Doohan, in 1998.

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Stoner ran the number 1 plate as Ducati's reigning champion in 2008 and used it again in 2012, after winning his final MotoGP title for Repsol Honda.

But with the likes of Valentino Rossi (46), Marc Marquez (93), Joan Mir (36) and Fabio Quartararo (20) electing to stick with their personal race numbers as reigning champions, the only other times the #1 has been seen in the ‘MotoGP’ era is with Hayden (2007) and Lorenzo (2011).

However, Lorenzo kept his usual #99 after his subsequent title victories in 2012 and 2015.

Alvaro Bautista, Ducati's reigning WorldSBK champion, has also selected the #1 for this season.

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