The new Desmosedici GP22 started with a certain disadvantage compared to the previous model, a normal factor in the first races, because the GP21 has reached the maximum level of performance and is already tested. However, in Qatar the difference between the Ducatis on the grid exceeded any imagination.
Enea Bastianini’s victory caught the attention for the fact that it was the first, but not so much if we take into consideration all the tangible aspects that accompany him from his MotoGP debut: last year, at his debut in the premier class, he won two podiums (both at Misano), before breaking the absolute record at Sepang in the winter tests, a track where he had never ridden with MotoGP.
With this triumph, Bastianini has maximized all the elements at his disposal to face a fight that, at least on paper, he should have lost. Ducati has made it clear in recent months that Pecco Bagnaia’s teammate will be one of the current Borgo Panigale riders in 2023, so the list of names has been reduced to Jack Miller, Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini.
In theory, Bestia faces this challenge in lower conditions, if we consider that his rivals have a Desmosedici GP22, the most advanced model of the Bologna manufacturer, while he races with the GP21. But what is happening is that Ducati finds itself in a complicated situation, after Bagnaia took the engineers to a third line of work, recovering the engine base used last season. This forced Miller to follow the same path, regardless of whether he wanted to or not, and left the Pramac duo of Martin and Johann Zarco with the newer version of the GP22. At this point, first we need to understand where Ducati will concentrate its efforts, whether on the road of Bagnaia and Miller or on that of Martin and Zarco. Or, based on how the championship will evolve, he would do well not to neglect Bastianini.
The Romagna rider rides a complete bike, according to the statistics. The Desmosedici GP21 has won five of the last seven races and has signed five of the last seven pole positions. If that weren’t enough, drivers with the GP22 find flaws everywhere. “No weapons to fight, this bike has no strong points”, complained Martin after starting from pole in Losail and being overwhelmed by Bagnaia in the race. But both were powerless in the face of the strength shown by the two factory Hondas, Bastianini and Brad Binder’s KTM, not being able to cling to the two Suzukis that they had suffered in front.
Enea Bastianini, Gresini Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Martin, one of Bastianini’s direct rivals for second place in the factory team, dropped out of the game midway through the race. By that time, Miller had even already changed after being forced to retire due to a wrong electronics configuration on his prototype.
Under normal conditions, Bastianini’s options to join the official team would be scarce. However, the situation that has arisen in Ducati and his spectacular state of form have undoubtedly re-evaluated his candidacy. Marc Marquez himself added him to the list of drivers fighting for the title last Sunday.
For his part, the Gresini rider is fully aware of the fact that the advantage at the end of this race compared to the rest of the Ducatis will probably diminish with the passing of the season. for this he must try to maximize his pace in Indonesia, Argentina and Austin, before he reaches Europe on a permanent basis in the world championship, where the pace of development increases.
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