You are here

MotoGP, Ducati 'loses its pieces': from Sterlacchini and Bartolini, all the brain drain

Yamaha and KTM have both made acquisitions in Borgo Panigale in recent years. Nicotra works on the aerodynamics of the M1, Guidotti, Giribuola and Pupulin are also in Austria

MotoGP: Ducati 'loses its pieces': from Sterlacchini and Bartolini, all the brain drain

Gigi Dall'Igna has always maintained that "it is worse to lose an engineer than a rider" and he knows well what he is saying because in recent years he has had to say goodbye to many key men in the Borgo Panigale racing department. There is practically no manufacturer who has not ‘been shopping’ in Ducati and in the garage there are many men who have changed red for other colours.

The latest example was that of Max Bartolini, an important loss, so much so that Dall'Igna said he was "annoyed" by his farewell, both from a professional and personal point of view. In Bologna the engineer was in charge of the vehicle's performance, at Yamaha he is the technical director, at the same level as the project manager Yoshimoto Matsuda and it is the first time that a European technician has held such a role in Iwata. Bartolini's arrival was a source of satisfaction for Quartararo, who praised his work after the tests.

Yamaha, just a few months earlier, had also taken away another key player from Ducati: Marco Nicotra, who was placed in charge of the new aerodynamics department based in Italy.

While the Japanese manufacturer has strengthened itself in recent times with ex-Ducati engineers, KTM has been following this path for some time. In fact, in 2020 the Austrian company managed to secure Fabiano Sterlacchini, Dall'Igna's right-hand man for years. At the end of 2021, he then convinced Francesco Guidotti to leave Pramac to become team manager of the official team. Both were key men at Borgo Panigale and were soon followed by two other familiar faces from Ducati.

Last year, in fact, Cristhian Pupulin decided to follow Jack Miller to KTM, continuing to be his crew chief, a role he had held for the Australian first in Pramac and then in the official team. Alberto Giribuola, crew chief of Andrea Dovizioso and Enea Bastianini, also left Italy with him for Austria. 'Pigiamino', as he is nicknamed, now holds the role of Performance Engineer.

These are the most striking and recent market ‘coups’. In the past, however, it was Honda that looked to Italy. In 2017 Filippo Tosi arrived at HRC, after having worked for 7 years at Ducati responsible for electronics and then at Magneti Marelli. In Aprilia, however, Massimo Rivola as looked more to Formula 1 to make acquisitions and Marco de Luca is the most striking example of this. Manuel Cazeaux, Vinales' crew chief, also had a past with Ducati before moving to Suzuki.


Related articles