MotoGP Ducati and Bagnaia, we need some reflection. And meanwhile Quartararo flies towards an encore

The Piedmontese’s mistake in Germany has perhaps put an end to the dream of winning this world championship. And the redhead wonders. In the meantime, the Frenchman from Yamaha does not miss a beat and leaves everyone behind in the standings

Massimo Falcioni

– sachsenring (germania)

At the end of the race Fabio Quartararo, winner in the Sachsenring toboggan, kissed the rear tire of his Yamaha, while Pecco Bagnaia, who started from pole and flew away at the first corner of the fourth lap, does not rest easy accusing the hard rubber dinghy of his. Ducati. So Quartararo hit the second consecutive victory (third success of the season) by dominating a race without history, reaching 172 points in the general classification, very much on the way to the second MotoGP world champion. On the other hand Bagnaia, fourth fall in 10 races (the penultimate one two weeks ago in Catalunya caused by Nakagami), three zeros in the last four rounds, with 91 points less than the championship leader, sees strongly compromised, really reduced to a flicker, his title race.

hard blow

A hard blow for the Piedmontese rider and in particular for Ducati, considered for several seasons the bike to beat, but always with a dry mouth, with the only MotoGP rider title won 15 years ago, in 2007, with Casey Stoner. In racing, there has always been a tendency not to always take into account the quality (and, when there is, the superiority) of the opponents, or even to seek excuses for one’s failures. Understandable the hot reaction of Bagnaia, who blamed the tire for the fall. But already from the live images (later confirmed by the telemetry data) it was understood that it was Pecco who made a mistake at that point of the corner entry: slightly “long” in braking and off the line. Having recovered the right direction with an “extra” lean, when the throttle was reopened the bike lost grip and crossed over, ending up with the rider on the scree. Already on the second lap, to overtake the Quartararo hare, Bagnaia had already gone long at turn 1, thus giving the Yamaha rider the go-ahead.

like snow in the sun

And now? The championship is halfway there, with 10 rounds to go. At this point, the game is definitely in the hands of Quartararo and Yamaha. The dreams of a world championship for Ducati and in particular for the Italian team Bagnaia-Ducati are melting like snow in the sun. At the turning point of the season, the numbers speak for themselves: Quartararo’s 172 points mean 34 points ahead of Aleix Espargaro (at 138), with Zarco at 111 points and Bastianini fourth at 100, 72 less than the leader. Bagnaia is at 81 (like Miller), a gap of 91 points. On the “guided” circuits this Quartararo today has no rivals. In the sense that even where he does not run away from the first corner and does not win, he never burns the result, he does not make mistakes, still collecting heavy points. He is not the new Marquez, if anything he remembers the Lorenzo of the best days. Quartararo is not a wheel-sucking racer: he is a champion capable today – without Marquez – of making a difference. For Ducati, that of Sachsenring is a day that to say bitter is nothing, even with the two podiums of Zarco and Miller. The new knockout of Bagnaia, after yet another domination in qualifying and the conviction that no one could now stop the red army (in total 8 Borgo Panigale bikes on the track), is a hard blow that resizes the world championship goals by imposing on the whole team – drivers and teams – a profound reflection, even self-criticism. And, above all, never underestimate the adversaries, including Quartararo, who until a few weeks ago gave themselves little chance of repeating the encore world champion of 2021, considering his Yamaha with the engine 4 in line not so competitive in front of the Bolognese racing cars, both in the 2021 version and in the 2022 version.

Quartararo in these first 10 rounds of 2022 did not even make a “zero” and accumulated a great booty, the result of a great continuity of results and with six very heavy podiums of three victories and three second places that demonstrate the value of the driver and quality of his vehicle. That it is he, Quartararo, the only one to fly this Yamaha, matters little: indeed it is the confirmation of the rider’s qualities and how such a rider is decisive for the race and championship result. For Ducati, now, there is a need for an overall analysis, not only technical, without veils, to understand why we risk once again, after so many seasons, to collect results well below expectations. Because a rider like Bagnaia – rightly considered a champion (otherwise you would not understand why a manufacturer like Ducati entrusts him with its official MotoGP bikes) becomes the protagonist of these “ups and downs”, nullifying his own potential and that of his motorcycles? Bagnaia is today the best Italian rider in MotoGP. But the limits shown in racing in this first part of the championship impose a question: is “this” Bagnaia ready, is he mature, is he complete to win the MotoGP title? All that remains is to hope that the music will change in the second part of the championship and that Pecco will erase all doubts.



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