Pecco Bagnaia and Ducati managed to make a significant change to the Mandalika weekend. While Saturday was a day to forget, Sunday proved to be the exact opposite. Thanks to Jorge Martin's crash, the world champion retook the lead in the world championship standings in one fell swoop, putting 18 points between himself and the Spaniard from Pramac.
A memorable performance by the Italian, towards whom Paolo Ciabatti spends words of praise. At the end of the Indonesian Grand Prix, the director of the Red team in fact wanted to enhance the performance of his champion rider.
“Aside from the victory, it wasn't an easy weekend at Mandalika – Ciabatti told us – seeing Pecco start 13th made everything uphill. In fact, on Saturday we were unable to find a solution that would allow him to move up the rankings. Sunday's race was different, however, given that we opted for the hard tyre on the front and some set-up changes. Bagnaia won, but obviously we are sorry for Jorge Martin, given that he was giving a great performance. It will certainly be a good battle until the end between Pecco and Martin with Bezzecchi certainly not wanting to give up."
How did you see Pecco after Saturday's sprint?
“Pecco was dissatisfied and angry on Saturday, because when he can't express himself there is something to resolve, given that there were other Ducatis in front of him. I'm sorry for some of the criticisms, but we'll leave the comments to others, because it's up to us to be rational and regain the confidence the rider needs. We therefore worked to find that path to follow and I saw a Bagnaia convinced that he could fight for it and so it was. The result speaks for itself and confirms once again that Pecco is a world champion because he deserves to be one."
Paolo, what do you think when you hear that a private Ducati team cannot win the World Championship against the factory team?
“This matter irritates me, because those who know things know that the official team and the Pramac team have the same bikes. In Pramac there are seven Ducati engineers, Pecco and Martin also have the same updates, lastly the winglets on the forks. If Ducati didn't want Martin to fight for the World Championship, they wouldn't give him the same options that Bagnaia has. If people think that Ducati doesn't want Jorge to be able to fight for the title, it's unfair because the company has these four riders under contract (Bagnaia, Bastianini, Zarco, Martin) who are paid to win."
Ciabatti is clear and transparent on the issue.
“I know well that everyone expects the red team to win, also given the responsibilities towards the sponsors. But I repeat: if there was a concern that Pramac could win, we wouldn't give them the same updates as the factory team, putting Martin and Bagnaia in the same conditions."
What idea did you get of Marquez in Gresini?
“The truth is that the negotiation was carried out between Marquez and Gresini. We were informed when the deal was in the final stage. Among other things, I was surprised that Honda let go of a strong rider when he needed to get back on track. Having said that, the official bikes will be ours and those of Pramac, i.e. the riders under contract with us. Marc is a great champion and will be an extra incentive for our riders to demonstrate how much they are worth."
So will it be a Ducati Cup in 2024?
“Our opponents will be able to think that there are chances of Ducati being even more dominant. In the end, independent teams remain independent and no one imposes anything on them. An example is Bezzecchi, who in agreement with VR46 decided to prefer Mooney to Pramac. As for Gresini, I believe that having an eight-time world champion who arrives is a unique opportunity. Therefore, it was an opportunity not to be missed."