2021 will certainly be a year of renewal at Ducati given the significant lowering of the average age of the Borgo Panigale rider line-up in MotoGP. Miller and Bagnaia will replace Dovizioso and Petrucci in the official team, Zarco will join youngster Martin in Pramac and in Esponsorama there will be the equally young Marini (with the colours of Sky Racing Team VR46) and Bastianini. A supporter of this rejuvenation process is also Paolo Ciabatti who, as he told our colleagues at Speedweek, has a lot of confidence in his young guys, especially in Bagnaia.
“Bagnaia had a very difficult 2019 season at Pramac as a rookie on the Ducati. If you compare his performance back then with Quartararo on the Yamaha, then you have to say that Pecco has definitely won more than Fabio in Moto2. But a rookie has a harder time on a Ducati than a rookie on a Yamaha,” said Ciabatti.
An analysis of Bagnaia’s season is a must however since the Turin-born rider finished the championship with only 47 points, against Miller’s 132.
“Pecco finished seventh in the first Jerez race. In the second Jerez GP, he would have finished second if he hadn't had an engine failure. Then he had the crash in Brno and was injured for three races. Five weeks after the lower leg operation he came back at Misano and finished second in the first World Championship race. A week later he crashed there while in the lead. Viñales would never have caught up with him again. But of course: you have to finish the race ... Still, you can say that Pecco's start to the season was fantastic. He rode the Ducati in a great way. After Misano, Pecco had more crashes, he lost some confidence and then never found that 100 percent feeling with the bike. But we are confident that he has a lot of talent. We are confident that he will be able to get on the podium and even win races."
For the surprising start by Bagnaia, there was an excellent final part of the season for Miller: "Jack ended the season impressively. Unfortunately, he's still looking for his first victory on the Ducati after three years. But with him and Pecco we have a young, motivated and well-balanced rider line-up for the works team. "