The stars aligned for Pramac Ducati on Wednesday as it unveiled its 2022 campaign at 2pm on 2/2/2022.
Titled ‘Fastest and Stronger’, Pramac’s unchallenged lineup saw reigning top independent rider Johann Zarco and last year’s rookie sensation Jorge Martin arriving in supercar style before showcasing their respective Desmosedici Ducati GP22s via an online stream ahead of this weekend’s official MotoGP test in Malaysia. The Frenchman seeming particularly in favour of the striking red, white and blue livery now on display.
2021’s Independent Team Champion intends to carry its momentum into the coming season with both riders firmly established in the Italian squad and Ducati factory structure, while Claudio Calabresi - former Pramac MotoE boss - takes over as Team Manager for 2022.
Consistency is the key for Zarco as the calendar returns to normal after a difficult couple of years while Martin is aiming for top four in the championship for his second season. Ducati’s Paolo Ciabatti was also on hand, openly expressing his support of the duo in the Bologna manufacture’s hunt to secure the rider’s championship.
“As a Frenchman, of course is nice,” Zarco commented on his new look Pramac before focusing his attention on the season ahead."I’m really happy to run another season with Pramac Racing. Continuity is important, to improve oneself and to carry out ambitious projects. With the team we built a great relationship and I am very satisfied with what we did last season.
“We are still preparing because first race is in March. The tests in February are part of the preparation so I'm preparing and try to do everything better than what I could do last year to get a better result.
“I learned again that a season is pretty long,” he continued. "In 2020 we got a short season with the Covid but in '21 we got a normal season, even with all the Covid situation. I think we did 17 races last year and 17 races you can start so well, have a fantastic first half then you miss five races and it seems that you totally miss the season. So that's a good lesson, to get the focus really even stronger for 22. I can’t wait to leave for tests and get on the bike. It’s going to be a great season.”
"Last season was the most intense of my life, a series of strong emotions, hard moments but also of extremely happy ones,” Martin admitted. “Together with Pramac Racing we have started to build something special. Last year we laid the foundation, this year we are ready for greater things.
“It's been a rollercoaster for me but anyway, I achieved my big goal which was winning the Rookie of the Year title. We get that one. For sure, the first victory, four podiums, four pole positions was good enough. I learned a lot from this big crash from Portimao but anyway, when we went there in the second round I did a good race so now I don't have fear about that crash and I'm ready for start the new season.
“The expectations are there,” he acknowledged, having stunned in his debut season, “but is difficult to say. We need to go to Malaysia, start testing. The bike is a bit different. The last test it was with a lot of new parts so we need to get a good base and try to focus on the season. My target is to finish in the top four, top five at the end of the year so yeah, will be a big one and I will fight really hard.”
While the team harnesses the consistency of its rider line-up, the management structure has certainly had a shake-up, thanks to the departure of long-time boss Francesco Guidotti after a decade with the Italian outfit. Calabresi steps up from MotoE to take charge of the premier class team and is confident of the task awaiting him.
“After many, many years in the industrial and energy sector, I have still plenty of curiosity and passion that I will be able to put in this new adventure. Is not easy to manage a team like this one, that has done so well in the past year but it’s also extremely exciting and engaging with a new adventure. So I can count about these two fabulous Ducatis and spectacular riders like Johann and Jorge, and to have a team of extremely fabulous guys like the Pramac team could be very, very good for me. The fun has begun.”
2022 sees Pramac running full factory machines for both Zarco and Martin, with Ciabatti confirming the support and expectations are equally as high for the year ahead.
“First of all, yes, the target is to win again the riders championship,” the Ducati chief affirmed.
“Last year we won for the second consecutive year the manufacturer championship, thanks also to the effort of Pramac - because they brought a lot of points for the constructor championship.
“We won also the team championship but here we have the Independent Team Champion, we have the Independent Rider Champion with the Rookie of the Year, and definitely both Johann and Jorge did some fantastic results so they were really challengers for the championship. Unfortunately, Jorge had a difficult time after the accident in Portimao but both of them are capable of being on the podium, fighting for the championship, and for us this is a second factory team.
“Pramac is a second factory team for us so they have exactly the same machinery and the same possibilities and all the technical support.
“In the end, for Ducati it is very important that a Ducati will win and both Jorge and Johann are Ducati riders, they are under Ducati contract, and we will be really curious to see what they can do this year.
“Last year was a fantastic year for Pramac and it was a fantastic year for Ducati in MotoGP - the best year ever, except we didn’t win the riders championship. We just look forward to the first test in Sepang and then to start the championship in Qatar and have a great season together, with Pramac and all the other Ducati riders.”