With eight riders on the MotoGP grid for 2023, Ducati has a wealth of speed, determination and potential to tap into again this season.
While the factory Lenovo team has the obvious pedigree, with reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia partnering Enea Bastianini - who claimed third in last year’s title fight - the talent, and accompanying support from the Bologna manufacturer doesn’t stop there.
“We are quite happy about the overall performance of the Ducati riders,” Team Manager Davide Tardozzi confirmed from Sepang as the three day pre-season test concluded.
“We have the World Champion and number three on the list, so we think that we are a very, very strong team but we are sure that our opponents grow a lot on the bikes and we have a lot of respect.
“There are many riders of MotoGP that we know that can win races and championships.
“I guess that Marc Marquez and Fabio Quartararo will be the top on the list of our competitors, but there are so many other riders that can win races. We never give orders last year so it’s not a matter for us. Who is faster, is leading.”
While the factory team expects to take the majority of the headlines, it was three other Ducati riders who topped a day each at Sepang. Marco Bezzecchi led the times on Friday with his Mooney VR46 teammate closing the show on Sunday, while Prima Pramac’s Jorge Martin split the pairing for Saturday’s rain-struck session on day two.
“We have a lot of respect for our riders, whoever is on a Ducati has our approval and the team’s,” Tardozzi explained. “The Pramac riders is exactly like a factory team - they have factory bike and factory contract. Bezzecchi is growing a lot, Marini in the end of the year was very, very fast and we expect also a big, big step ahead from Diggia [Fabio Di Giannantonio.”
And for his new Gresini teammate, Alex Marquez, after three years at Honda?
“I think that this year can prove that he is twice world champion, I think that he never had the possibility to show his performance.
“We work on the 2023 bikes for one and a half day,” The Italian said returning to the matter at hand. “We stepped back on the 2022 just to see what’s the difference and the comments, with the bike that [Bagnaia] knows very well and that Marini and Bezzecchi and also the Gresini riders show that is still a good bike.
“The new bike will be decided only in Portimao so we have to wait till there.
“Pecco tells us that there are some good points on the 2023 but still mainly one weak point compared to the 2022 that we must work on. By Portimao he wants it to be fixed so we must suit the World Champion’s request. Enea is saying exactly the same comments, is something that doesn’t make him comfortable on his riding style, but we will see.”