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Ducati, the choice: 50 Shades of Red

Domenicali ruled out marketing reasons determining the choice of second rider of the official team; politely we think that, instead, they will somehow tip the scales in one direction between Martin, Bastianini and Zarco

Ducati, the choice: 50 Shades of Red


While Ducati plucks the petals off a daisy thinking about the rider who will join Pecco Bagnaia in the factory team in 2023, undecided between Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini, the answer came in the form of a joke from Johann Zarco in the press conference.

“If they have hesitation between an Italian or a Spanish rider, they can take the French one in the middle!”.

That might not be a bad idea, come to think of it. Even if in fact the CEO of Ducati, Claudio Domenicali, during the presentation of the WDW said that the choice will not be made on the basis of marketing, we all know that there are market logics that influence this type of decision. And the French one, driven on by the successes, is excellent.

After all, if a decision were to be made, today or in a month, it doesn’t change much since after the long summer break in August there will only be the Silverstone GP, it would be like throwing a cow into a hallway since Enea has won three Grand Prix, more than any other Ducati rider. Why should Martin be preferred at this point, even if he catches Enea in the score, were it not for his passport?

It could also be added, as Kenny Roberts said, that you can teach a fast rider not to crash, but not a slow one to be fast. Something that is also true for both.

In fact, both the young Ducati riders have weak points, the start, a certain lack of consistency, but this year it has been the same for ALL the Ducati riders, including Bagnaia and Miller.

So Ducati might do better to think of a different strategy, given that there are two possible strategies in a team with world championship ambitions: a team with two champions, McLaren style with Prost and Senna, or one with decided roles: always McLaren with Senna and Berger.

Both solutions have pros and cons, of course, and obviously it is these two aspects that need to be evaluated.

So if in Ducati they are convinced that their winning horse is Bagnaia, they should put him in the best conditions to make him perform at his best. And we are not sure that teaming him up with young ‘buccaneers’ like Martin or Bastianini is the right solution. Pecco seemed to suffer a little from the pressure this year, and perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at this.

What does Pecco need to perform at its best? We don't have an answer, but for sure in Borgo Panigale they know him better than we do. His reaction when Bastianini, jokingly, said that Pecco had crashed at Le Mans because overtaking him had made him nervous, makes us think that he does not like this sort of consideration too much, but we might be wrong, of course.

Would he go faster with a rider with the same talent in the garage? This will need to be verified. In these cases it all depends on character.

Of course, having a team with two main men has its advantages, even if it’s like holding a tiger by the tail and all you need to do is remember the Rossi-Lorenzo duo to imagine Lin Jarvis' headaches at the time, but you can play with one or two strikers.

The fact is that Ducati, again next year, will have at least three strikers. Noblesse oblige for those who field eight bikes in the championship. One thing that inevitably leads to another question: would the Borgo Panigale manufacturer be ready to win the title even with one of its satellite teams? No rash answers, please... Also because the risk is already there this year, both with Zarco and with Bastianini.

The official team in fact gives visibility to the most important sponsors for the manufacturer, and these might end up by complaining if, at a certain point in the championship, they see themselves overshadowed by others who, inevitably, pay less, even if not much, to appear on the fairings.

Obviously Gigi Dall’Igna has much more data than us to be able to judge and make a decision. Very often, however, it is the human side that matters most, even if we personally are convinced that it will not be technical but commercial considerations that will tip the scales towards one or the other rider. Which, as good old Johann suggested, between Spain and Italy does not exclude France…



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