Has Martin given Ducati another reason to bet everything on Bagnaia in MotoGP?

«If anyone thinks that a factory is going to allow a satellite team rider to win the world championship, they don’t have a clue where they are,» a former rider and current team manager of a MotoGP told this writer on the condition of anonymity.

And that was before Jorge Martin found out that Ducati had picked Marc Marquez over him for the second factory seat for 2025, prompting him to switch to Aprilia.

«They will never let him take the #1 to another factory, let alone an Italian one,» added people who have been a part of the grand prix paddock for a number of years.

However, despite all these arguments, no one has ever been able to say — and much less prove — that Ducati has not given Martin the same weapons as the rest of its factory riders. All related parties have maintained that nothing would change and that Martin would continue to receive the Italian manufacturer’s full support until the last race.

Prior to last weekend’s German GP, Martin had shown that he is a solid rider who committed a few mistakes, such as the crash from the lead of the Jerez race and the tumble from lower down the order in the Misano sprint. However, these errors did not cost him the championship lead or weaken his position as a potential title contender.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

But after the Sachsenring blunder, things are quite different. While the 10-point deficit Martin now faces to Bagnaia may not sound a lot, especially when you consider that there are still 11 rounds to run in 2024 and a total of 370 points on offer, it’s clear that the tide has very much shifted in the MotoGP title battle.

Far from consolidating what was once a healthy 39-point lead, Martin has now dropped behind Bagnaia in the championship standings.

It’s clear that the Spaniard has not been able to manage the pressure of fighting for the crown, especially in the wake of Bagnaia’s improved form that has seen the Italian rack up four consecutive grand prix victories and two sprint successes in Mugello and Assen.

In fact, out of a maximum of 136 points that were available since his crash in the Barcelona sprint, Bagnaia has scored 131 points to overhaul Martin and claim the championship lead going into the summer break — dealing an important blow to his rival on a psychological level.

Ducati already has a champion

One may think that with Bagnaia being Italian, having a factory contract until 2026 and with two titles to his name already, why would Ducati support a Spaniard and a team that is due to move to the Yamaha fold next year?

But Ducati understood that its commitment to support Martin until the end is a duty that does not seem to jeopardise the chances of Bagnaia clinching a third straight championship.

In fact, cutting down its support for Martin could be counterproductive in terms of brand image. But Sunday’s mistake where Martin ‘handed’ victory to Bagnaia and gave a valid reason to Borgo Panigale to put all its weight behind the two-time champion.

Bagnaia, after all, has shown that he has the best form in MotoGP of all riders, if not being the absolute best in terms of speed and talent, and that he is ready to face the arrival of Marquez at the factory team.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Nobody at Ducati is going to give Martin a broken part or reduce the engine power of his GP24, that’s obvious, but the executives at the marque are already convinced that they made the right decision to snub him for Marquez and that they now must focus on their own riders. That makes Martin more of a satellite rider, waiting for the season to end before he can start a new life at Aprilia.

Martin has admitted that Sunday’s crash was so significant that he will be viewing things «before and after» the incident separately. While there was a different meaning behind it, it was also likely in reference to the support he and Pramac would receive in the final four months of the campaign as the team nears the end of its 20-year relationship with Ducati.

He also said: «It’s very frustrating. I’ve had a hard time in the truck and it’s not easy to take these things in. You often don’t know how to deal with it. You can throw a punch, which I did, you can start crying, but it doesn’t help either.

«In the end, you have to let it go, it has to come out. You have to accept it and look forward, and that’s it. I will focus a lot on improving and correcting these mistakes and I will get back to where I need to be. I will win again and all this will be an anecdote.

«It is an opportunity to continue working and to see the reality as it really is.»

Read Also:

Source link