Too early to say MotoGP 2024 will be «Ducati-only championship»

The Borgo Panigale marque also kicked off pre-season testing for 2024 on the front foot, with two-time champion Francesco Bagnaia leading a top four lockout for the Desmosedici.

Ducati’s attack in 2024 has been strengthened by the arrival of Marc Marquez from Honda, and the Spaniard has already been showing promising pace on the year-old GP23.

With the new GP24 a step forward to the already-rapid 2023 bike, and Marquez potentially threatening for the title despite having older machinery, there have been renewed concerns about Ducati having too strong a foothold in MotoGP.

But factory rider Bastianini feels it is too soon to draw any conclusions about the 2024 form guide yet, even as he feels the Italian marque has a more competitive bike at its disposal.

«At one lap in the dry we seem to have been very effective, but in race pace even the GP23s are close,” he said.

“However, we know that the Ducati always makes the difference when it comes to time attack, so we will also have to see how the others perform. 

“It’s still too early to say it will be a Ducati-only championship, but we’ve certainly taken a small step with the new bike, and in Qatar we’ll still have something to prove, even if the new aerodynamics are approved.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team, Enea Bastianini, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team, Enea Bastianini, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bastianini finished third fastest across three days of testing at Sepang, with his performances prompting Ducati’s team manager Davide Tardozzi to claim the Italian has rediscovered his 2022 form.

The 26-year-old found it hard to adapt to the GP23 last year on his step up to the factory team, but is already gelling well with the 2024 bike, particularly praising its updated engine.

«It’s a bit different, and I like it better than the one on the GP23, because it’s more similar to the one on the 2021 bike,” he explained. “I’m happy with this bike, but we can still work on the engine braking to make a step forward.

“Obviously I came here hoping to confirm the feelings I had had in Valencia, and the confirmation has come. It is clear that we have to wait to go to other circuits, but the bike works and I feel good with the team, so things are easier than last year.»

Another two-day test is scheduled at the Losail International Circuit on 19-20 February, before the season gets underway at the same venue in Qatar on 10 March.

Asked if Ducati can replicate the form it enjoyed in Malaysia in other venues, Bastianini said: «I think so, because although the difference with the GP23 is not too big, in the end the performance is better in practically every corner. 

“But above all it’s the feeling on the bike that is better than with the GP23, although it’s something very subjective, because for example if you ask Jorge Martin he doesn’t like it, but the other Ducati riders feel good. 

“It depends a lot on the riding style.” 

Ducati won 17 of the 20 grands prix last year, with its riders also monopolising the top three spots in the championship.

Read Also:

Source link