Enea Bastianini can finally smile again. 2023 has come to an end, and maybe it was for the best because, if we follow Murphy’s Law to the letter, everything that could have gone wrong did. That’s if we want to actually look at it negatively, because the meaning of the phrase attributed to Murphy is actually “anything that can happen, will happen”. In Enea’s case, what has to happen is he simply must be able to live a season free from injury and misfortune. A year during which he can best express all his talent.
His first approach with the Ducati GP24 in Valencia was a positive one. The smile on Enea’s face said it all, and then his words confirmed how calm he is at the end of the season and, above all, how he’s ready for all the challenges in 2024.
“It was a good day, and I’m really happy because I’m leaving with good sensations,” Enea said. “The first impression with the new bike was better right away, from the second round. Overall, it was a good day.”
What were you able to test on the bike?
“We made some set-up changes because, during the year, I never had the opportunity to try several things, since I missed so many tests. We’ve already solved many of my problems with these changes. Then the new bike is slightly better in every area, so I’d say that’s good. Pecco and I tried a few different things but, as far as I’m concerned, I’d say eighty percent of the things I tried worked. So, like I said, I’m leaving happy.”
Did you resolve your braking issues?
“Well, braking is still a sour note. I’m going to need Sepang to get there, but we have an idea of what to do. Then we also saw Pecco’s data, and the new bike helped him in that phase, as well. It would’ve been important to also do a time attack today, but we didn’t have the right conditions.”
Was the transition from the GP23 to the 24 easier, instead of the transition you made from the GP21 to the 23?
“Yes, because the difference is rather small. We returned, from a certain point of view, to some features that the Ducati GP21 had. The engine looks good. It pushes hard. So, overall, I see a better bike everywhere.”
What do you think of Marquez’s debut with the Ducati?
“It's nice to see Marc on the track. He rides like I expected. He immediately picked up the bike. He didn’t need to adapt too much. I think he’s going to be a thorn in my side in 2024. But the surprises won’t just be these. There will be others. I didn’t see him on the track but, for example, I saw the data, and I saw that nobody does turn eight like he does. So ... you can already see that he’s faster than us in several places, than all of the Ducat riders.”
Why? How does he do Turn 8?
“He does it really fast. He doesn’t seem to brake. It’s amazing how he handles it. He rides the bike in a very small space.”
But, today, observing Marc was important for you too?
“It wasn’t something that was pressing me today. But, when I saw that my sensations were good, and that I had fixed some problems, then I became curious to see what Marquez was doing. His performance was the result of a time attack.”
You look calm.
“I am calm, without a doubt. Being in front without having pushed to the limit, it makes me leave here more calmly. We need to work well on the worn tire race pace, because I think this is an aspect that we missed a bit this year. But the sensations are all better than before.”
Do you have a request for Santa?
“Santa Claus ... Pokemon cards! “What do I want to ask? A calm 2024. Less calm in some ways, but more so in others.”
In 2024, you’ll be starting in Qatar.
“We’ll be starting in Qatar. It’ll be nie to see how the impressions will be during the tests, since we recently raced there. I won in 2022 while, this year, I struggled, but especially because I started far back on the grid. It’s a friendly track for me, so it’s good to start the season there.”
It seems like Pernatìs famous cards were right.
“I didn’t want to believe it but, so far, I’d say they were right. Let’s hope they’ll be right in 2024 too!”