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MotoGP, The 3 Mustketeers: pros and cons about Bastianini, Marquez, and Martin

Ducati has to decide who'll be joining Pecco Bagnaia on the factory team. We all know the names on the list, but the choice isn't an easy one to make.

MotoGP: The 3 Mustketeers: pros and cons about Bastianini, Marquez, and Martin

It's all rather simple. There0s only one position available and three candidates to fill it. And there's really no need to specify that we're talking about the one in the official Ducati team. A favorite topic of discussion in the paddock and among fans. The trio of riders in contention was confirmed to us by Ducati's Sports Director, Mauro Grassilli, in one of our recent interviews: "Basically, the names on the list are those of Bastianini, Marquez, and Martin." Gigi Dall'Igna then commented: "It makes my legs shake to think about choosing amonf them. There's quality and plenty of it, but you can't please everyone, and the clock is ticking. Borgo Panigale has given themselves until mid-June. Making the announcement at Mugello would be ideal.

The hunt for that bike has been on for some time ,and everyone has their own good reasons for wanting it. Enea, having already earned it, doesn't want to give it up. Jorge thinks he's earned it with last year's results and those at the beginning of this one. Marc left Honda for a second life (winning the bet, for now) and is not the type to  remain a satellite team. Choosing won't be easy, because each have their own pros and cons.

Continuity rather than speed rewards Bastianini

Bastianini represents continuity. The native from Rimini was promoted to the first team after his excellent streak in 2022, forming a very interesing pair  with Pecco, on paper. However, his injury at the beginning of last year prevented him from reaching his potential and, honestly speaking, 2024 didn't start out perfectly either. He does have consistency (only failing to score points in the Sprint at Jerez, a race where as many as 14 riders fell due to the conditions) but, in terms of pure speed, he's been a step behind the others.

The Beast, however, also has arrows in his bow. Undoubtedly, his relationship with Bagnaia is very good. There have never been rifts between the two, and this creates a nice harmony in the garage, also because they've never competed against each other in Ducati for a victory. Then there's also the financial issue, In all likelihood, Enea is the one out of the three who'd settle for a lower salary.

Martin, the predestined who fails to be convincing

Martin would seem to be the obvious choice. The Spanish rider is a 'product' of the Ducati school (like Bagnaia and Bastianini), of that policy that aims at focusing on young riders born in the post-Dovizioso era. Like Pecco, Jorge cut his teeth on the  team, fighting for the title until last year's last race. Over time, he's also learned how to smooth out the rough edges, even if not entirely (as he demonstrated in the Valencia 2023 GP).

There's no doubt about his speed, but not everything is sunshine and rainbows. He's not a media phenomenon, not even in Spain, and suffers the competition of Marquez the icon and Acosta the enfant prodige, so he doesn't get much attention. Also, it's not really clear how he'd fit in with Bagnaia. In their Moto3 days, the two shared a motorhome. But that past is long gone.

Marquez, the (maybe) forbidden dream

Last on the list, but not in the possibilities, is Marquez. Needless to say, paired with Bagnaia, they'd form a dream team. A term that's somewhat overused, but also appropriate in this case. The old and the new united. Eleven world titles (for now) between the two, and a heated but fair rivalry. Such a team would make everyone happy: sponsors, fans, media, championship organizer. We don't even need to discuss Marquez's speed and desire. They're there for all to see.

So what are the downsides? The Spanish champion is no longer a kid (by MotoGP standards), and he's already 31 years old. Recruiting him would mean clashing with the desire to continue focusing on young riders. Then there's the issue with Red Bull, Marquez's long-time sponsor. It seems that they've tried to remedy the Gresini team's declining engagement this year. Ducati is tied to its rival, Monster, so Marc would have to give up his long-standing relationship with the Red Bull. Nothing that hasn't happened before (Lorenzo made the opposite switch when he signed witl Honda), but it's just one more problem to add to the list.


Translated by Leila Myftija

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