The final team to unveil its new bike was Ducati Pramac. Attending the presentation of the GP18, along with Gigi Dall’Igna and Paolo Ciabatti, was Giacomo Agostini. The fifteen-time champion spoke about the 2017 MotoGP season, the upcoming season-opener as well as the favourites for the title, highlighting the names of Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso. There was also talk of Rossi's future and the arrival of electric bikes in the championship.
“Winter testing proved that Dovizioso is even happier – started Ago – he was fast in all sessions and at all tracks, so I expect a great championship from him. It would be great, after Agostini, to see an Italian rider winning on an Italian bike. It won't be easy of course, because Honda and Yamaha will be up there fighting with the best".
One thing is certain: the Dovizioso of 2017 was no fluke.
“We have seen from the tests that it was no one-off. Andrea has shown that he has every chance of fighting for the title”.
Like us, Agostini can't wait for the season to start. Not least because testing has also shown that there is a more level playing field, with Petrucci even going so far as to say he see ten riders fighting for race wins this year.
“The technology and electronics have allowed everyone to reach the same level. Just one small detail, like a tyre for instance, is enough to deny a rider the win. This means that the bike counts for a lot, because if something is missing, the rider can't make the difference as he once could. I think it's all got too sophisticated”.
Agostini doesn't hold back, moving on to the upcoming season's favourites.
“Marquez is the current champion so it's logical that he is the man to beat, though I expect a real fight for the title”.
And what about Rossi and his future?
“He wants to continue, there are those who prefer to stop earlier and those who don't . Valentino loves to race, he feels strong and so no-one can say anything. everyone must do as they think best”.
Back to 2017, and there were two riders who stood out for Ago.
“Last year I was impressed by Dovi, but also Zarco. Johann is not in the factory team but he's fighting with a great bike with the best riders, and he could become dangerous".
His final words regard the arrival of the electric series in the championship.
“To be honest I prefer not to talk about it - jokes Ago - I was born with the combustion engine, appreciating the music. Ferrari was of a similar opinion when asked in an interview years ago. A new generation will arrive that will never have heard the noise, but that's OK anyway”.