Marco Bezzecchi: ‘This bike works in the opposite way’

Marco Bezzecchi explains how the Ducati GP23 ‘works in the opposite way’ to the ‘22 model on corner entry.

Marco Bezzecchi, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 24 March
Marco Bezzecchi, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 24 March

It’s still not ‘automatic’, but after a tough winter and opening MotoGP round in Qatar, Marco Bezzecchi is starting to crack the corner entry technique required by the Ducati GP23.

Just 14th in Qatar, Bezzecchi crossed the finish line in sixth place - albeit after several late incidents ahead - at Portimao.

The Italian, a triple race winner and third in the world championship for VR46 last season, naturally prefers to drag the brakes all the way to the apex.

But that technique doesn’t work with the GP23, which responds more to straight-line braking.

“I'm still trying to change because it's not automatic still for me to ride in this way,” Bezzecchi said. “Last year I was really strong to bring the bike in [to the corner] with a lot of pressure on the brake. I was really strong when stopping the bike with lean angle.

“This [GP23] bike works in the opposite way. So you have to stop really well in the straight, but then you have to release the brake to make the bike turn in. When you keep [holding] the brake, the bike is turning less compared to last year.

“For me, still it is not really natural to go in and release the brake. My instinct tells me to keep the brakes [on]. But by making some changes on the bike and trying to focus a lot on doing this while riding, I made some big improvements [at Portimao].”

But the 19sec gap to victory shows there is still work to be done.

“I’m still missing the entry part, but especially the turning point mid-corner, I’m slower compared to the other riders in that area,” he said.

“Overall compared to Sepang and Doha we improved a lot, but still we are a bit too far from the top guys so we need to continue working.”

Marco Bezzecchi, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 22 March
Marco Bezzecchi, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 22 March

“I've never been a hero on starts”

Another area where Bezzecchi is looking for progress is the race starts, which remain inconsistent.

I was a bit better,” he said on Sunday evening in Portimao, “I lost a couple of places in the first two corners but compared to yesterday it was not too bad.”

“The Ducati clutch is really tough for me, from my first year in MotoGP,” he added. “I've never been a hero on starts, even with the Moto2, but once I changed to the MotoGP, I really struggle a lot.

“During these years, I never made three or four good starts in row! It's really difficult to be consistent. The clutch feeling is always different.

“Last year I was able to be not perfect, but at least quite good. In Qatar with this bike, I started very well, but [in the Portimao Sprint], unfortunately not… and still I'm missing something to be able to make the overtakes like last year.

“But overall, I made some improvements. I feel better on the bike. I still need to find something for sure, but I'm coming.”

Bezzecchi will continue his adaptation to the GP23 in COTA this weekend, where he finished in sixth place a year ago.

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