Martin surprised by factory Ducati aero choice, ‘one of the strongest’

Ever since the new MotoGP Sprint races were revealed, Jorge Martin’s name has been among those tipped to excel over the half-distance events.
Jorge Martin , Portimao MotoGP test, 11 March
Jorge Martin , Portimao MotoGP test, 11 March

The Pramac Ducati rider may have been just ninth in last year’s world championship, but he was beaten only by Francesco Bagnaia in the BMW Best Qualifier award.

Throw in Martin’s strong starting ability and the ten-time MotoGP pole sitter admits the Sprints, which award half points, could play into his hands.

But, speaking on the eve of this weekend’s Portimao season opener, the Spaniard underlined that he’s also confident for the full-length Sunday contests.

“I feel super ready,” he said. “It's been a really long pre-season, a lot of training, a lot of hours of work and I feel really in great shape.”

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In terms of the new Saturday afternoon Sprints, “I think I'm one of the strongest. I'm maybe not the strongest one, Pecco or maybe Fabio are also strong in one lap, but I feel like I can take a really big advantage of those races.

“But I feel also strong for the Sunday races. I don't think the Sprint races will change the final [championship] result a lot. But it's a good thing that can help me to take more points at the end of the season.

“The key is still Sunday. So you have to do well, but maybe not be crazy on Saturday.”

After claiming the first ever MotoGP win for a satellite Ducati rider during his injury-interrupted rookie 2021 campaign, Martin could only repeat the four podiums and ninth overall last season.

“Last season I thought top three, and I finished ninth,” he said. “So I don't want to put that [championship fight] target for the moment. I want to go race by race, try to win races, this is my target.

“I feel much stronger than last season with the package I have with this bike. For sure I think I can battle with them, and at half season, if we are top three or top four, then I can think about the championship.

“For the moment we need to be calm and make good results. This is the most important thing."


Martin picks different fairing to factory Ducati team

While Martin (like team-mate Johann Zarco) has the same GP23 machine as the factory Ducati team of reigning champion Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini, he has chosen to start the season with a different aerodynamic package.

The 25-year-old, who prefers the newer ‘ground effect’ style design, confessed he was surprised to find the factory team liked the other fairing more (with the lower vents). But when he retested them both in Portimao, it only re-confirmed his choice:

“They chose that one [more similar to last year's design]. It's strange, I don't really understand why, because in Sepang I had a really clear idea of the fairing, I felt this one was much better.

“Then when I saw they were still choosing the first one, I said, ‘OK, I need to retry it’. And I tried it two or three times, and I still feel it's worse. So I don't really understand what they need and what they are looking for that is better.

“For my side, this one is much better.”

Asked if it was perhaps simply down to a difference in riding style, Martin replied:

“[Our riding styles are] quite similar. Normally with Pecco, we choose the same things. Not with Enea, for sure with Pecco we are quite close, about maps about whatever, swingarms, forks. So I didn't understand why. This is why I still had this idea about changing at the last moment. But I said ‘OK, I felt good, I know the bike, and I feel strong for starting with this fairing’.”

Martin, who said he was ready to race after leading day 2 of the Sepang test, now has just two more nights to wait before MotoGP’s first ever Sprint race opens the new season.

“It will be a bit strange, because we are used to starting in Qatar, so I feel like it's still a test!” he smiled. “It will be good because I feel more relaxed, but I will try tonight and tomorrow to get into [race mode] for the weekend.”

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