“If needed there will be orders!” Will Ducati bosses decide MotoGP title fight?

Factory Ducati and Pramac bosses have both hinted at Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin receiving help from teammates in their bid for the MotoGP title.

Bagnaia, the reigning champion, has a 14-point advantage heading into this weekend’s Qatar MotoGP.

The closeness of Martin’s challenge, with four races remaining (including sprints) means that fellow riders could be given team orders to help influence the result.

"Johann Zarco is a Pramac rider, his teammate is fighting for the title and if needed there will be orders,” Pramac boss Gino Borsoi told Gazzetta

“We talked about it and in any case he must also think about finishing fifth in the World Championship".

Ducati’s Davide Tardozzi offered a reminder that Enea Bastianini’s debut win in red, last week in Sepang, came after assistance from his title-chasing teammate - and he hinted it could be returned.

"Enea received important help from Pecco on Saturday morning, on the track and psychologically,” Tardozzi said. 

“Small things that make you make the leap in quality. 

“It's well known that Enea is going fast, the click that arrived in Malaysia was missing, and I think he's aware that Pecco's help in this."

Bagnaia previously said about help from Bastianini:  “I prefer always to ride alone but maybe it's the time to do something together.”

But Martin shot down team orders: “I don't care about 'friends'.”

'Pressue and tension increased'

Jorge Martin, Francesco Bagnaia, Qatar MotoGP, 16 November
Jorge Martin, Francesco Bagnaia, Qatar MotoGP, 16 November

Pramac’s Borsoi previewed the title scrap in Qatar: "More than ready. Pressure and tension have increased, when you understand that you can fight for the first three positions, which then become the first two, things change. 

“But I think they have more pressure. Regardless of the ending, we did an incredible season. 

“If the icing on the cake comes, perfect, otherwise it's fine."

Borsoi insisted he isn’t superstitious: "Absolutely not. I mean, when I was racing I always had those things to do, now I'm more about a job well done.

"During a season you always make some mistakes. 

“We're concentrating, but you can never predict everything. We were at -64 points, we were first, I'd say we worked well."

Borsoi said about the 14-point disadvantage: "If I had the choice, I would prefer to have them. But there aren't many.

“We're racing on two tracks where we've always been strong, our minds are prepared and positive.

“I have great respect for Pecco, he's in the lead and he's the champion. He has the team, the bike and in 2022 he recovered a lot of points from Quartararo, he knows how to manage, especially the last part of the season where there is this constant nervousness about the result. 

“But we are aware that we are on two tracks where Jorge has always been strong."

Borsoi said the difference will be “steady nerves”.

“Now Pecco doesn't even have the tyre pressure [advantage] anymore, we're starting from scratch,” he said. 

“In any case, the pressure will decide, between that of the people, the drivers and the tyres. Let's hope the latter doesn't have an impact, it would be sad.”

Tardozzi believes it is unlikely that Bagnaia will wrap up the championship at the penultimate round this weekend.

"I see closing it in Qatar as difficult,” he said.

“For Pecco it will be important to increase the gap before Valencia, where I believe Jorge will have an exceptional race. For Pecco, in my opinion, this race is much more important.

"I wouldn't want to arrive [in Valencia] with just a few points, anything can happen in a single race. If the advantage is consistent, you can manage.

“Both having an exceptional championship, it is also difficult to say that one deserves more than the other. 

“Pecco had a wonderful season up until Barcelona, ​​then Martin's time came. They deserve to fight until the end."

Tardozzi explained Bagnaia’s mind-set: "Absolutely calm. But aware that the battle is tough. 

“We talk about it among ourselves, he knows how strong Martin is. But I don't see him as fearful, and I think he showed it in Sepang.

"Since Jerez there has been a maturation in the race strategy. 

“The mistakes at Termas and Austin were very serious and he made the most of them. 

“On Sunday in Sepang perhaps he could have even risked finishing second, but it was too important to finish in front of Martin.”

Tardozzi detailed Martin’s strength: "His aggression. If he manages it, he will have good room for growth. 

“He has innate speed and going fast straight away, from the first corner, made the difference in the last part of the season. He will become important.

"Pecco must race based on his strengths, braking and corner entry. 

“If he manages to ride with the ease of Malaysia and the determination he has especially in braking, I believe he can absolutely finish ahead of Jorge, who instead has in the distance corners and the aggressiveness of the first laps are the strong point. 

“Pecco will have to keep Jorge behind, or not lose him, because in the second part he will have a better chance of victory."

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