Ducati came close to a clean sweep in MotoGP for 2021 with Pecco Bagnaia challenging eventual champion Fabio Quartararo in the closing stages.
The Borgo Panigale outfit celebrated both team and manufacturer honours as the curtain came down on an electric season but such swift success what not initially expected. 2021 saw both Jack Miller and Bagnaia make their debut on factory machinery, after switching together from the satellite Pramac squad, and while tipped as front runners, a championship challenge was always the plan for year two.
The Australian, and elder of the pair at just 26-years-old, claimed five podiums, two on the top step in the opening European races, while his Italian protégé grew in stature as he impressed throughout the developing season. Bagnaia eventually claimed second in the overall standings thanks to four victories, nine podiums in total, and six pole positions proving he was far from bowing to the pressure of life in the Ducati Lenovo Team despite having only expected a steady developmental year.
“It’s been a good season,” Ducati Lenovo Team Manager, Davide Tardozzi confirmed. “We make a huge change last year, changing both riders - looking forward to young riders and thinking to have a season to build up the new riders for the future.
“In the end, we fight in some ways for the championship till almost the end and being second already with Pecco is a positive season.”
Rating his team’s season nine out of ten, Tardozzi is clear where the final piece of the puzzle needs to come for 2022’s fast approaching challenge.
“I would like to say nine because I think that the team work very well, the riders too,” the Italian explained. “The feeling is so nice in this team so we are looking forwards to have a 10 next year. I think that we still need to improve some areas on the bike, while on the other side I think that there is a perfect connection between riders and team.
“The feeling is very nice,” he elaborated further. “What I really appreciate is the feeling between them [Miller and Bagnaia}. They understand that they are competitors while on the track, but they have a huge respect, one to the other, and I see them working very hard to improve their relationship and to share the data.
“Many times I see Pecco going to Jack or Jack going to Pecco, discussing about what just happened after the practice and they understand that this helps them both. I hope to see this feeling even in the future. I’m sure that it will be like this and looking forward for 2022 to see Ducati winning the rider championship!”