Bagnaia doesn't feel like number two rider at Ducati MotoGP
Francesco Bagnaia says Ducati has not made him feel like a number two rider in its factory MotoGP squad, despite teammate Jack Miller being tipped as an early title favourite.
With the expansion of the calendar to 21 grands prix and the introduction of sprint races, the 2023 MotoGP season will take the riders to almost 1,300 kilometres of more competition than this year, a factor that forces adjustments in their physical preparations.
Surname pressure is something many have had to deal with in their motorsport careers. And while Luca Marini doesn’t have that, his familial relation and the team he rides for in MotoGP have cast a brighter spotlight on his progress. But, as he has shown in 2022 – and as he reveals to Motorsport.com – Marini is so much more than just the brother of a legend.
Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo had a 91-point lead over rival Francesco Bagnaia after the German Grand Prix, a seemingly impregnable gap to overcome in the remaining 10 races. But as the Frenchman struggled for pace with his Yamaha, Bagnaia stormed back into contention and swept to Ducati's first riders' title since 2007
After a run on Honda's 2023 prototype MotoGP bike, six-time champion Marc Marquez made his pessimism clear with his initial reaction. But the Japanese marque has made leadership changes behind closed doors - and a more representative bike promised for the Malaysia test in February could placate Marquez.
While new MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia might not be the loudest rider on the grid, his calm exterior belies a steely backbone. His part in turning around Ducati's fortunes at the start of the year, when displeased with a new engine concept, shows the strength of his character.
OPINION: Despite the superiority exhibited by the Ducati in 2022, the context in which Francesco Bagnaia became MotoGP world champion means that both the rider and the Italian marque merit the same recognition that the brand and Casey Stoner received after their 2007 title
OPINION: MotoGP’s fifth last round showdown of the modern era delivered a tense finale despite the predictable outcome, as Francesco Bagnaia ended 15 years of pain for Ducati. But as emotions ran high for the Italian marque, a final victory for a departing Japanese rival tinged the campaign’s conclusion with sadness.