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MotoGP, Ducati: a poker of aces to decide who will line up next to Bagnaia

There remains one place in the official Ducati team and the competition to fill it is fierce: Enea Bastianini, Jorge Martin, Marco Bezzecchi and Marc Marquez are the candidates

MotoGP: Ducati: a poker of aces to decide who will line up next to Bagnaia

There is a particular battle in which Pecco Bagnaia will be a simple spectator this year: the one to grab the best ride available for next year. The world champion has already won his by signing a two-year renewal with Ducati to stay in the official team until the end of 2026. Borgo Panigale's opening salvo on the transfer market was a foregone conclusion, but no less important for that. Both for Pecco, who will be able to face the season without any distractions about his future, and for Ducati, who can now wait to understand who to entrust that second place to.

Without a shadow of doubt, it is the most coveted one in the paddock and there is no shortage of competition to get their hands on it. Just looking in-house, at least 4 riders come to mind who could occupy it. The first is the one who is already sitting in that particular box, Bastianini. Enea arrives from a 2023 season he is eager to forget, one that was marked by injuries and a poor understanding with the GP23, but despite everything he took home one victory. 2024 started in the best way possible: in top shape and on a bike that he immediately liked.

As they say in these cases, it's all in his hands (or on his wrist). Ducati put their trust in him by keeping him in his place (despite the idea of promoting Martin) and he will have to repay it. Which means fighting for victory straight away because, as always in racing, results make the difference and Enea needs them. For himself and for the renewal, otherwise he will have to look around, because it seems unlikely that he will agree to return to a satellite team.

The one where Martin is, even if Pramac can be considered a sort of second official team of Borgo Panigale. After 2nd place in the championship last year, the Spaniard didn't particularly appreciate the decision not to move him to the factory team. “What do I still have to prove to Ducati?” he blurted out. His thoughts are understandable and Jorge knows that this will be his last chance to wear red in the future. To achieve this, he will simply have to repeat the result.

The speed and results of 2023 would normally give him access to MotoGP paradise, but nothing is taken for granted. Also because, of all the riders, Martin was the one who was least convinced by the GP24. The tests, however, do not give an outright certainty of anything and to think that the Spaniard cannot continue along the lines of the recent past would be imprudent. For sure, he wouldn't agree to stay in Pramac for another two years and he remains a rider who is tempting to many.

Continuing with our list we find Bezzecchi, the surprise of last season. Marco did not make a simple decision, that of staying in VR46 and therefore giving up the official bike that he would have had in Pramac. A choice of head and heart, which remains risky, considering what the 2024 Desmosedici showed in the tests. The rider from Romagna still has cards to play however and, on paper, much less pressure than his rivals. Even for him, joining an official team is a priority to make that leap in quality required to aim even higher.

Last, but not least, we have Marquez. Marc's story is well known: after 11 years in Honda he threhas thrown himself back into the fray with Gresini, in a satellite team, but on the best bike, the Ducati. The new chapter of his story is still to be written, but it is difficult to think that it will not produce the results. Even before starting, however, there have already been some rumours about his future, between those predicting his return to Honda and those thinking of KTM.

The official Ducati team would still be a very interesting possibility. With Bagnaia he would form a dream team and - as we know - dreaming costs nothing. It's impossible not to think about it at least, waiting for the track to tell how much the new Marquez resembles the winner-takes-all racer we've come to know in the past. Nothing is taken for granted and it will be the stopwatch that will decide.


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