The Desmosedici is a prototype that has already broken most of the Bolognese constructor’s records and is sure to break some of the most important ones of all time. In fact, Jorge Martin’s win in Thailand last weekend was the 14th for an Italian bike so far this season, a figure that leaves it just shy of the all-time record of 15, set twice by Honda (1997 and 2003).
With Ducati having won the last six events on the calendar, and the next race taking place at a venue as favourable as Sepang – where it has won three of the last five – everything looks set for the Borgo Panigale manufacturer to make history again next week in Malaysia, where the two main protagonists of 2023 will meet again separated by just 13 points in the overall standings.
However, despite the relevance of all these feats, none of them would have as much impact as an eventual win for Martin. Should he beat Francesco Bagnaia in their close duel, he would become the first rider from an independent team to win the title since Valentino Rossi, who did so in 2001, with Honda, with the Nastro Azzurro team, before moving to the factory team in 2002.
Doubts about whether Ducati would keep its word not to interfere with team orders to favour Bagnaia’s side were already echoed last season when Enea Bastianini made life difficult for the Turin rider.
If on that occasion the bosses did not interfere and risked the ‘Beast’ taking the world championship with a one-year-old bike, it makes even less sense for them to do so now that the two contenders are on equal machinery, given that they both have the most evolved specification.
“Pramac is an official team with a different sponsor,” insists Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati’s sporting director, who completes Paolo Campinoti’s line-up. However true Ciabatti’s statement may be, nobody questions the fact that the reference team is the red one, the one with Bagnaia and Bastianini.
It is the one that leads the project and has the sponsors who invest the most money, and it is also the one with Dall’Igna, the man who, with his arrival in 2014, changed the team’s goals in the championship.
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Dall’Igna’s arrival at Ducati in 2014 was the start of the team’s transforming fortunes
Together with his team, the engineer is the inventor of the Desmosedici, the bike that has turned upside down the status quo historically dominated by the Japanese. A machine capable of motivating Marc Marquez to give up the final year of his contract with Honda – and with it more than 15 million euro – without even having the option of riding the most advanced version, the one that Martin and Bagnaia will be riding.
For Dall’Igna, who as well as being in charge at the technical level also holds the position of general manager, the only thing that matters is that the glory goes to one of his ‘creatures’, as long as it is the current model.
But that’s not all. Motorsport.com understands that there is a faction within the company itself that believes that, given the choice, Dall’Igna would prefer Pramac to take the title.
“We are lacking absolutely nothing; Ducati is doing its part. In that respect there is nothing we can complain about because the treatment we have received is excellent” Gino Borsoi
“If it’s Pecco who wins again, he will get most of the attention. If it is Jorge who wins, the attention will be divided between him and the bike. That’s Gigi’s philosophy to the nth degree,” a Ducati insider told this writer.
Ducati’s racing department is trying to convince the most incredulous, those who still do not quite believe that Pramac is indeed free of any ties. The reasoning is based on the nature of the relationship between the contenders: both Bagnaia and Martin have the same type of contract, and the same privileges and responsibilities although, obviously, the 2022 title would mean a good injection of extra income for the current champion.
That feeling of being able to fight toe-to-toe is what the satellite team itself feels when asked to quantify Martin’s chances based on the tools at his disposal. “We are lacking absolutely nothing; Ducati is doing its part. In that respect there is nothing we can complain about because the treatment we have received is excellent,” satellite team manager Gino Borsoi told Motorsport.com.
The Italian, who has a long career in the paddock, first as a rider and then as an executive, applauds an approach he considers unique: “No other brand would allow one of their satellite squads to beat the factory team.”
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Some believe that that, given the choice, Dall’Igna would prefer Pramac to take the title