First test for Ducati bosses as Marc Marquez and Pecco Bagnaia reunite at COTA

Ducati won't want to see two of their main men in the gravel again
Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez and Francesco Bagnaia will come together again at the Circuit of the Americas, for the first time since their clash.

Bagnaia wiped out Marquez at the Portuguese MotoGP last time out, in a battle for fifth-position.

Instead, they ended up in the gravel and point-less allowing Jorge Martin to escape Portimao as the championship leader.

The clash between Marquez and Bagnaia, although a racing incident, is the first test of Ducati’s management this year.

It was always likely that the addition to the Ducati ranks of a star like Marquez would cause some friction with title rivals.

Gigi Dall’Igna was extremely careful in his post-race debrief not to apportion any blame to either rider.

What have they said behind-closed-doors to Bagnaia and Marquez to avoid a repeat incident? Have they said anything at all?

They certainly won’t want to see two of their main men in the gravel again.

Marquez and Bagnaia also denied any ill feeling between them.

“We have a good relationship with Pecco,” Marquez said. “No problem.

“He knows what he did. He knows what mistake he did.

“I accept that these things happen in races.”

Bagnaia insisted it was bad luck: “It’s something that, unluckily, can happen.”

Marquez debuts at favourite track on a Ducati

Marquez has won at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas seven times.

This year, he returns on a Ducati for the first time.

Many within the paddock believe that, after two productive rounds, this weekend will reveal if Marquez is a true title contender.

Gresini prepared for Texas by releasing imagery of Marquez as ‘The Martian’, from Matt Damon’s movie.

But despite his extra-terrestrial skills on this track, he will find stiff competition.

Enea Bastianini, who has quietly found form this year, won in Texas for Gresini in 2022.

Last year LCR Honda’s Alex Rins won ahead of VR46’s Luca Marini showing the possibility of a surprise result.

Marquez hasn’t won a MotoGP race since October 2021 in Misano.

Journalist Robert Jones told the Crash MotoGP podcast: “He has to be eyeing up a win.

“Now, with the added element of a sprint, if Marquez doesn’t win at least one of the races he would leave COTA disappointed.”

Peter McLaren added: “Everything is there for Marc to do well. Qualifying will be key.

“It will be a big part of the weekend for everybody but especially for Marc to avoid front tyre pressure problems.

“If he can get to the front early? You wouldn’t count out him getting to the front and disappearing!”

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