The additional Ducati rider tipped to scrap for 2024 MotoGP title

Davide Tardozzi tips Enea Bastianini to join Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin in the MotoGP title fight

Ducati bike, Sepang MotoGP test, 6 February
Ducati bike, Sepang MotoGP test, 6 February

Enea Bastianini has been backed by his Ducati boss to compete for the 2024 MotoGP championship.

He was forced to watch on last season as factory Ducati teammate Francesco Bagnaia edged Pramac’s Jorge Martin and VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi to win a second consecutive title.

It was Bastianini’s first season in factory red but it was blighted by injury, the first and most severe of which was suffered on the first weekend of 2023.

But Bastianini was the fastest rider on Day 2 of the preseason Sepang test to lay down a marker that he could return to the title picture to join Bagnaia, Martin, Bezzecchi and maybe even Marc Marquez.

“Enea is absolutely over the moon,” said Ducati team manager Davide Tardozzi.

“After the really bad year that he had last year - struggling for confidence with the bike, all the injuries, the accident in the first race at Portimao - it was something really heavy on his shoulders.

“He had a good race here, winning in Malaysia, but he was struggling until the end in Valencia.

“Now, he’s another rider. He is the Enea Bastianini that we saw in 2022.

“We are really confident that he will be one of the contenders.”

Enea Bastianini, Francesco Bagnaia, Sepang MotoGP test, 8 February
Enea Bastianini, Francesco Bagnaia, Sepang MotoGP test, 8 February

Bastianini, in 2022 with Gresini, won the second-most amount of grands prix behind Bagnaia. They fought wheel-to-wheel in the closing rounds to earn Bastianini a promotion to the factory team above Martin.

“I have to thank Pecco and Enea for they work in the team with the engineers,” Tardozzi said in Sepang.

“I see how many ideas they exchange between them. They talk about new parts.

“There is confidence between the two. This helps the engineers.”

Broadcaster Simon Crafar added: “You know the Enea that we saw at the race in Qatar, he won.

“Day 1 of the official test, that was the Enea who turned up.

“Wow, he was straight-away on it! Some riders took half a day to get the rust off.

“Enea just turned up and bang!

“The new engine, he’s made friends with straight away. The new bike seems like it suits him better.

“The big thing, for me, for Ducati? They seem confident with the whole package.

“It will only be little tweaks. But it looks like it works.”

Tardozzi said about Ducati’s winter development: “We don’t want to make a revolution as we did in 2022, when we were forced to run behind the problems of the first winter test.

“In 2022 and ‘23, we struggled. Now we have learned from the past.

“Gigi and the guys did a fantastic job.”

Bastianini, Bagnaia and Martin have already insisted that the GP24 feels even better than last year’s bike, which dominated MotoGP.

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