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MotoGP, Tardozzi: "Ducati wants more visibility, Liberty Media will be able to bring it"

"That's what we want, but it will benefit the whole paddock and attract new sponsors. MotoGP for Ducati is still an important technological bench. Happy to see so many competitive Ducati riders, Martin, Bagnaia, Bastianini and Marquez: I see at least two Ducatis on the podium."

MotoGP: Tardozzi:

Interview by Tiziano Niero

At the end of the first day of free practice on Friday, with Bagnaia and Bastianini both in Q2 along with many other Ducatis, Davide Tardozzi can only be satisfied with this start to the weekend in Austin. From Liberty Media's arrival to expectations about the race weekend, we had a word with the Ducati team manager.

With the arrival of Liberty Media, what do you expect in the near future, not only for Ducati?
"I was aware of the possibility of the arrival of a leading company," explained Tardozzi , "a company that has been able to raise F1 to very high levels. Having this partnership between Liberty Media and Dorna can only be good for motorcycle racing. I think it's something that pleases the whole paddock, the future looks bright."

What was missing in your opinion?
"Maybe it is not so much a question of what was missing as what has been done so far, while from the outside maybe you can get more of a sense of what is missing. I cannot say what is missing, but Liberty Media will tell us, as they did with F1. Evidently this company has a different vision of the show, just as Dorna has a very good vision of the sport and has shown it in recent years, but it is clear that broadening the visibility of the championship to a wider audience by creating new fans and creating new situations will be the responsibility of this company, while Dorna will continue to take care of the management of the sport, which it has conducted excellently so far."

With this Ducati almost invincible in its current state, the arrival of Liberty Media could catapult you and all of Ducati to an even higher level of fame. You will become stars.
"We weren't always invincible," the team manager admitted, "but actually visibility is what we want. Bringing our sport into contact with an audience that doesn't currently follow us, I think it can be good for everyone. It' s not so much a matter of creating this or that star, but that the sport becomes popular. It would be good for the whole paddock and would also attract more sponsors."

In your opinion, is MotoGP still functional in selling the product or is it moving toward a more brand-centric situation like for McLaren?
"I think our sport is still intrinsically tied to motorcycle sales. What we develop here in MotoGP is then taken to SBK, which is the extreme of production road bikes. At least for Ducati, MotoGP is definitely still an important technological bench, we do development here that benefits the whole company."

What are your feelings about this early start to the weekend here in Austin?
"Today went well, there is never a limit to say good and you can always go better. Speaking of Pecco and Enea, they worked well and will definitely improve their fast lap benchmarks tomorrow. As for Martin, he made a stratospheric first time, but he has been going really strong since last year and as Ducati this pleases us. Marc Marquez is also third and was fast with the GP23, we are definitely happy as Ducati."

Will it be a weekend of strategy, also played on tire choice?
"I don't think so, reasonably they will all use medium on the front and soft on the rear both Saturday and Sunday. Martin has a crazy explosiveness in the fast lap, but it is clear that on the long distances in the race the matter is different. In the last few races we have seen that starting strong and putting himself in the lead from the start pays off and that is what I expect from him on Sunday, but then again that is what the other riders will be aiming for as well, whether Enea, Bagnaia or Marquez. They will all be competitive, along with Vinales who has shown he has something special here in Austin, but I expect at least two Ducatis on the podium."

More was perhaps expected from Rins, last year Bagnaia wasted an opportunity.
"Last year Bagnaia made a mistake, but Rins was very good on the Honda."

The first corner looks risky.
"True, Rins risked a lot in that sector. I think tomorrow that point will be really problematic, especially in the sprint. Everyone will try to gain positions at that point."

Another risk factor could be the slipstreaming effect.
"That's true, as happened to Martin in Valencia. Riders have to evaluate the effect of the slipstream, when you are so close the bike picks up speed and it becomes more difficult to brake. But these guys are professionals, so I expect them to evaluate this risk and it won't be a problem this weekend."

Where on the circuit will we potentially see the most overtaking?
"Austin has a lot of places, on the end of the straight, at the last corner, there are at least four. One of the strong points of this track is just that."

According to Pernat, Bastianini, who already won here in 2022 with Gresini, will win.
"It's right for a manager to say that about his rider - he joked - but I would also be very happy either way. I think Enea is one of the riders who will definitely be on the podium in the race. Maybe on the fast lap he was less explosive, but he has a very good pace."

A year after its introduction, what is it like to run a sprint race compared to a long race?
"I think in the last year the riders have learned well not to make mistakes during the sprint race. Mistakes that could preclude Sunday or worse, as happened in Bastianini's unfortunate crash last year at the beginning of the season. The real problem is that it is something they have learned but it can still happen, you can make mistakes, we saw it last year in India as well, but I am confident that it will not happen again."


Translated by Julian Thomas

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