Mauro Grassilli: "we would be unhappy if Marquez left Ducati"

Lowering devices, aerodynamics, number of bikes on the track, rider price tags (contracts) owned: Ducati is light years ahead on everything. And Pramac today clings to its position as a satellite team intended for the growth of young riders

: Mauro Grassilli:

Ducati would be sorry if Marc Marquez left Ducati for another manufacturer. We're not saying that, it's what Mauro Grassilli, the Borgo Panigale manufacturer's new sporting director, told Marca.

"We would be unhappy if Marc left Ducati," he admitted.

The reason is obvious: with KTM and Aprilia on the rise, a rider like Marc means one more opponent. And that's without mentioning the marketing issue, which may not be a priority for Ducati, but it does exist.

Until the day before yesterday, however, the Bologna manufacturer thought it had found a sort of 'two peoples, two states' type solution, placing Martin and Marquez respectively in the in-house team and in Pramac, thus killing two birds with one stone.

However this was a solution quashed by Marc himself, who in a couple of words said, "if I have to stay in a satellite team, I might as well stay in Gresini." How can you blame him?

The reality, but also the problem, is that Marquez's arrival at Ducati, but also Martin's performance since last year, have changed the perspective of what Pramac was and what it has become now: as we have explained, Paolo Campinoti has been talking about victories and the position of satellite team to bring up young riders, has now become a bit of a tight fit.

How can you blame him? Last year he contested the title with the factory team until the last race, giving the creeps to Claudio Domenicali, who would have to justify to his sponsors what had happened. Without, moreover, being able to proudly show off the number 1 on the fairing of the Desmosedici Rossa.

The fact is that Campinoti's courting of Marquez since last year defeats the so-called 'youth policy' that the Pramac team is supposed to pursue, but it is not his fault. Ducati's bulimia, with four teams and eight riders, means carrying on with a family of hungry young riders, and at some point, of course, some of them may get tired of wearing the cast-off clothes of their older brothers.

That's where the problem lies: Ducati can't keep them all. Because Marco Bezzecchi and Fabio Di Giannantonio, too, are fast and Italian even if little is being said about them at the moment.

So, we have to come to terms with this reality as well. It's fine to dominate MotoGP with the best bike on the grid, but to also occupy all the boxes, that's a bit much. After all, it is Ducati itself that has realized this, so much so that it would seem that it no longer has any intention of personally paying all these fast youngsters it has discovered.

Of course: that is the intention, because last year Fermin Aldeguer was put under contract. Yet another young hopeful snatched from the competition.

Think about it: the only youngster who has been able to escape the pull of the Rossa, currently, is Pedro Acosta. Score one for KTM.

The fact is that it takes more than technical rules to level the playing field among the manufacturers involved in the world championship: it also takes sporting rules. On the number of teams (and here initially Carmelo Ezpeleta dreamed of four bikes per manufacturer), on the number of 'price tags' one can own. These are not mere details.

Unfortunately, among MotoGP's unsolved problems is that of short-sighted management. And while on the other hand there is a Ducati that is ahead not only technically, but also in terms of sporting management, the battle is lost.

Lowering devices, aerodynamics, number of bikes on the track, price tags (contracts) of the riders owned: Ducati is light years ahead on everything. It is obvious, then, that to slow it down Dorna is forced to introduce vetoes. And we have seen several of them in recent years. Some of them even illegal: the front lowering device, banned at the beginning of 2023, was perfectly legal at the time.

We know, now, that from 2027 the technical regulations will change, and as some riders said yesterday it is already too late because the current MotoGP bikes are too fast. But is anyone, today, thinking about updating the sporting regulations as well? Chasing problems is never the right solution.


Translated by Julian Thomas

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