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MotoGP, Domenicali: "Bagnaia is far from having reached the top, he will be able to surprise us again"

The Ducati CEO: "Although he is a two-time champion, he can still improve in riding technique, and he is also doing so thanks to Marquez, who has made Ducati's potential even more obvious and has been a great marketing campaign."

MotoGP: Domenicali:

Ducati could not have asked for more at Mugello on Sunday. It was a triumphant day for the Borgo Panigale company, which celebrated Italy's Republic Day by celebrating a poker in front of its home crowd. An incredible result, made all the sweeter by the fact that leading that quartet of aces that monopolized the first four positions of the Italian GP were Francesco Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini, who took to the track for the occasion, precisely with a special Azzurra livery, dedicated to the athletes of the National Team that will represent the country in the European Football Championship and the Paris Olympics.

"If a MotoGP-loving director had wanted to imagine a more beautiful Republic Day at Mugello than this, I think he could not have written anything different, because we finished first and second with an Italian bike, with two Italian riders and a celebratory livery for the European Championship and the Olympics, with the Blue of Italy and the writing 'Italy' on the fender... I don't know what else could have been imagined," commented Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali.

It was a Sunday that is likely to contribute even more to complicating Ducati's already difficult decision, given that completing the Desmosedici quartet were Jorge Martin and Marc Marquez. The two riders vying with Bastianini for the job of factory rider next year.

"Not messing up is almost impossible, but we are trying. Right now, though, let's not talk about 2025, because we are enjoying this Sunday," Domenicali cut short. " I don't know if this is the most glorious day for Ducati. We have had so many good days, but this one competes to be on the podium."

As many as seven Ducati riders finished the Grand Prix in the top nine positions.

"We are living an extraordinary moment, which is the sum of some things that depended on us and the work we have done over time both on the bikes and on our riders, including through our data exchange system between the teams, which is definitely working. But there's also been a simultaneous decline in our opponents , which in some ways is almost inexplicable," the CEO pointed out. "It's definitely a temporary moment though, so the competition will come back very strong. There are some manufacturers, particularly the other two European ones, that are very close to us."

Doesn't dominating the championship make you run the risk of becoming disliked?

"Potentially yes, however, that's the price that the great champions of history have to pay, from Ronaldo to Messi, or even Valentino or Verstappen," he noted. "The greats who have won so much have probably been a bit divisive: some were great fans and to others they were a bit disliked. It's inevitable. You just have to try, as we're doing, to keep your feet on the ground and not get ahead of yourself."

Then going into what he saw on the track, it becomes difficult for Domenicali to say whether he preferred Bagnaia's start or Bastianini's two overtakes on the last lap.

"Fifty-fifty - he said - Pecco's start was something crazy, but even more so Turn 1: the way he was able to come in right away and stay tight, with two or three other riders, and then take the momentum and jump into Turn 2. It was as if he had 30 percent more grip than the others. That's the talent of this guy, who has a crazy sensitivity and that's why, in some cases, he drives the engineers crazy because he says the two bikes are not the same. He's hypersensitive and, for better or worse, maybe he does some weird things like Turn 5 in Barcelona, but then he gives you things like this, or like Turn 5 the next day or Jerez, where he did another start like this at Mugello. We are very happy to have him like that. As for the other 50%, Enea at the last corner did something really crazy, passing on the inside and managing to come out in front without any crossover."

A demonstration of the character of the Rimini rider. "Enea is a very strong rider, who unfortunately has accumulated less, in terms of points, than what he deserves," the Ducati boss pointed out. "He has always been very fast in terms of performance. Then, for one reason or another, he doesn't string it all together. Even Pecco at the end was not particularly faster than the others, but when he needed to, he made a little breakaway."

Returning to talk about Pecco's talents, Domenicali added, "I think he will still be able to surprise us, because I don't remember ever seeing him do the first lap he did this year at Jerez and the first one he did today at Mugello, except maybe in Qatar. He is a guy who is improving and still putting himself in a parking lot to improve his riding style. He's far from having reached the top, even though he's a two-time World Champion and can do races like these. Athletically he is very fit, so I don't think he can improve more from a physical performance point of view, however, strange as it is, I think there is still an opportunity to learn in riding technique. For example, having Marquez on this expanded team allows you to see some somewhat unique things that he is capable of doing, and Pecco is learning because of that as well. He has the intelligence and also the humility to learn."

One cannot but fail to say a few words about Marquez, who is constantly fighting for the podium with Team Gresini's GP23.

"Marc is a talent who didn't need to be reconfirmed, but he had been through some very complicated years with injury and was struggling to perform, so you couldn't tell anymore if it was him or the bike. It's clear that he had a very good race yesterday, maybe more so than today, where he struggled a little bit to stay with the others, but the others went really strong and he was still on the podium until two laps from the end," said the 59-year-old, proud to have returned the eight-time world champion to the stage he deserves.

"It's definitely very positive for the brand because, just in case there was still any need, it made it even more obvious what Ducati's potential was. This for us who race to make the technological value of the brand evident to everyone, and therefore the ability to then make mass-produced products that are at this technological level, was one of the best executed marketing campaigns," Domenicali added. "On the other hand, it was also certainly a positive operation for him, who chose to put himself back into the fray by taking a big risk."

 

Translated by Julian Thomas

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