Paolo Ciabatti can't help but smile at the end of a Valencia GP which saw Pecco Bagnaia give another seal to Ducati, the second in a row for the rider from Piedmont.
"It's a great joy at the end of a very long year in which we saw two great riders fight until the end - he commented immediately - Obviously I feel sorry for Jorge who was clearly irritated by the first mistake and then made another. He had an incredible championship finish, proving almost unbeatable in the Sprint Race."
Specifically analysing the performance of the Chivasso rider, the Ducati Corse sporting director continued: "He was strong, but he too made mistakes. In fact, we have zeros that count a lot, like Austin, Argentina and India, however he has demonstrated in all the races, including those not completed, of being there in front fighting for the podium. Let's not forget the incident in Barcelona, which occurred when he had a big lead over Martin in the standings. Zero points in a GP where he started from pole and had a chance to win. Then of course there were the consequences. At Misano he twice finished third despite still being on crutches and a leg that took a while to heal. That said, it was an incredible season for the team. Worth remembering. Three of our bikes in the first three positions of the overall classification and today too we conclude with three Desmosedicis on the podium (the penalty to Di Giannantonio had not yet been made official, ed.). It won't be easy to repeat, but we will try to do better."
Asked about the morale with which the team arrived in Spain, the Italian manager admitted: "Having a 14 point lead means being able to think about managing the situation because even if the Spaniard had won, Francesco could have finished fifth and still won the title. But a mistake is always around the corner and we had the typical tension of these moments. In the end he did the race he was supposed to and congratulations to Di Giannantonio who proved that he deserves to stay in MotoGP next year too, while Johann Zarco couldn't end his Ducati period better", were his words.
The Italian rider’s second consecutive world championship is a feat that only Marquez and Rossi recently achieved. "When he had to choose the number he was in doubt whether to prefer #1 because he feared it would bring bad luck. Instead it went well. Is he the captain the team needed? Anyone who didn't believe in him was wrong. From the last part of 2021 he was perhaps the only one to always fight at the front. A few crashes too many, but looking at the rest of the group, I don't think there is anyone else who has done the same."
Having confirmed the official line-up for 2024, Ciabatti dedicated a thought to the loser of the day who will remain in Pramac also next year. "We signed him when he was in Moto2, but we had already been following him since Moto3 because we immediately saw a champion in him. In 2023 he confirmed his speed and I believe that he will soon be on the top of the world. Marquez? We will think about it from Tuesday, today we are celebrating. The captain's ranks? The one who won the trophy has them. There is nothing to say from this point of view."