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MotoGP, Grassilli: "Ducati really likes Marquez, he has great charisma"

Ducati's new Sports Director: "Marc has won a lot. Bastianini and Martin are two unknowns. There's no rush to decide. Even with the VR46, there's still no solution. Renewing with Bagnaia was difficult, and we're negotiating with Aldeguer."

MotoGP: Grassilli:

Pecco Bagnaia's 2024 started off pretty well with a win in Sunday's Qatar race and a 1st place in the overall standings. But the icing on the cake was his renewal with Ducati. Although it might have seemed like something obvious, it really wasn't, as Paolo Ciabatti's successor admitted to Sporting Director Mauro Grassilli.

"I come from a 20-year career in marketing, where my role was to put together as many financial resources as possible and make the MotoGP and SBK teams work, through the relationship I had with the sponsors. This is the first time I've ever negotiated a contract where I'm the one dipping into my pocket and pulling money out. I thought it would be easy, but it was actually much harder than I imagined. However, thanks to all the parties, we managed to find the solution," he confessed to Motorsport.com.

Despite Technical Manager Gigi Dall'Igna's willingness to close quickly expressed at the presentation of the new bike, actually signing the agreement with the two-time world champion was quite  hard-earned. "There was a moment when I had doubts about whether I we'd make it before the start of the championship, because maybe I lacked the experience to understand the whole context. Starting immediately with such an important rider wasn't easy," he claimed.

One of the other tasks he had to perform was to determine the future line-up of the team. "The decision to be reached regarding the riders isn't individual. I contribute but, right now, my contribution is quite marginal. My personal goal was to renew Pecco before the first race since, in addition to the results, he reflects our values and is well liked. And we  succeeded," he explained., "Now we decided to slow down and see how things develop on the track. We have a competitive bike, the most desirable on the grid, and that's why we're not in a hurry."

As a business man, he obviously watched Marquez with interest. A very important milestone for the Borgo Panigale-based  constructor. "He's won a lot and has great charisma. To me, since I haven't known him for a long time, he seems like an honest, sincere, nice person. Marc is someone to watch," he seemed to imply that, after his stint with Gresini Racing, the Spanish rider could be among one of the most suitable to line up with the rider from Chivasso.

There is, however, a doubt for 2025 regarding Jorge Martin who, last year with Pramac, was able to undermine the reigning champion to the  very end. "His contract is expiring and, with a talent like his, it's obvious that he has many alternatives. He can go wherever he wants to, but he's always said he wants to stay. As for the rest, the global economic situation forces us to be very careful about spending in every respect, so we're trying to get back to sustainable figures."

On the other hand, Enea Bastianini's bike is increasingly precarious, He's been called upon to make an extra effort after 2023, also because of his initial injury: "Taking him on was a gamble, but he deserved it at the time. The falls didn't allow him to show his potential and talent, but this World Championship started much better. The most important thing is that he has fun again. He knows he has our full support, then we'll see what happens."

Looking towards the future, the topic obviously became the VR46, currently in the process of approaching Yamaha. "It's not easy to extend the contract with them, because it has to be placed in a new economic framework. We don't have a solution yet," he admitted.

Finally, he spoke of the young riders in the Moto 2, specifically Fermin Aldeguer. "We've been following him for some time, and we're talking to him. We're very close to reaching an agreement," he revealed.

Translated by Leila Myftija

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