Ducati’s forgotten man: “Not bothered by rumours, they believe in me”

Enea Bastianini is not worried about losing his much-coveted seat despite a year ruined by injury.
Enea Bastianini, MotoGP, Catalunya MotoGP, 1 September
Enea Bastianini, MotoGP, Catalunya MotoGP, 1 September

Bastianini earned a call-up to the factory Ducati squad ahead of Jorge Martin due to his impressive 2022 with Gresini Racing, where he won the second-most races of the year behind only title-winner Francesco Bagnaia.

He entered this year where his rivalry with Bagnaia was expected to be a major talking point but he hasn’t yet fully recovered from a shoulder injury suffered at the opening round.

"Martín is proving this year to be very, very fast,” Bastianini is quoted by Motosan.

"But I'm not bothered by rumours, Ducati believes in me. 

“I know what my potential can be, I just have to try to squeeze it.”

Enea Bastianini, MotoGP race, Catalunya MotoGP, 3 September
Enea Bastianini, MotoGP race, Catalunya MotoGP, 3 September

He is still sharing the box with Bagnaia who leads the championship and is trying to fend off Martin and Marco Bezzecchi.

“Pecco is always very confident and that is why he is competitive on all tracks,” his teammate said.

The three Ducati riders - each from different teams - in contention for the MotoGP championship must make Bastianini rueful that he couldn’t fight for glory, as he was expected to do.

Asked to pick a champion between Bagnaia and Martin, he said: “I think both are very fast and consistent. I see a battle until the last two races.”

Bastianini has completed just three grands prix in 2023 so far.

Even after recovering from the shoulder injury and slowly building rhythm on his factory Ducati, he injured himself again in Barcelona.

Bastianini needed surgeries on his ankle and hand and will remain absent from this weekend’s Japanese MotoGP.

This year is bastard," he said. 

"At the beginning of the season it was very hard to get injured, because the championship was at stake. 

“Now, knowing that it is impossible to fight for the title, I feel a little calmer.”

Bastianini will have a long lap penalty waiting for him when he returns, a punishment for causing a pile-up in Barcelona which then resulted in his latest injuries.

"Although it is wrong to say it, I am not bothered by the criticism after the crash in Barcelona, these things happen," he said. 

"It's true that I didn't take into account that there, inside the first corner, the asphalt was very dirty and I couldn't brake. 

“In a good trajectory I would have stopped, but it was not my fault.”

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