Reflections from inside Ducati after two key engineers moved to Yamaha

The Pramac boss has backed Ducati to recover from losing two important engineers to Yamaha.
Fabio Quartararo, Valencia MotoGP test 28 November
Fabio Quartararo, Valencia MotoGP test 28 November

Massimo Bartolini quit as Ducati Vehicle Performance Engineer to become Yamaha’s technical director.

Marco Nicotra left the Italian for the Japanese manufacturer to become head of aerodynamics.

These two acquisitions are a major boost for Yamaha who are reeling from a terrible season, and who lag a long way behind Ducati.

“It's certainly not trivial to lose important pieces every year,” Paolo Campinoti, the Pramac boss, told Gazzetta

“But Ducati is the strongest team from a technical point of view. 

“And it is normal that they come to fish from them. 

“Massimo, as well as being very nice, is a very good guy and I don't think a company like Yamaha can afford to continue [like this], so I understand their move."

Another high-profile departure from Ducati’s MotoGP team is Paolo Ciabatti.

Ciabatti was sporting director last year, but has moved out of the MotoGP programme altogether to oversee the brand’s new off-road project.

And on the track, Ducati must deal with the huge arrival of Marc Marquez - a rider who they appear to accept might ruffle some feathers.

“In this sense, Gigi Dall'Igna is very good at managing,” Campinoti said about these changes. 

“But I feel very sorry for Paolo, to whom I am very close on a professional but also personal level. 

“He's not really going away, given that he will move on to managing off-road, but we will miss him."

Could Pramac themselves follow these Ducati figures out of the door?

Yamaha and KTM are both vocal about adding satellite teams to their brands next year.

Pramac’s current contract with Ducati - which sees them equipped with factory-spec bikes - expires at the end of this season.

“True, but we have the option to renew,” Campinoti said. 

“Leaving Ducati is not a realistic scenario for us.”

Pramac kept hold of Jorge Martin, who missed out on a promotion to the Ducati factory team when he failed to win the championship last season.

Martin enters this season already threatening to quit Ducati if he is not rewarded with the official team next year.

Franco Morbidelli left Yamaha and will replace Johann Zarco as Martin’s teammate this year. 

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