Bastianini reveals key changes behind Ducati’s dominance in Malaysian MotoGP

Bastianini reveals key changes behind Ducati’s dominance in Malaysian MotoGP

Enea Bastianini claims that his comeback in the Malaysian MotoGP was facilitated by changes to the brake setting on his Ducati as the manufacturer dominated the proceedings.

Bastianini was predicted to challenge factory Ducati team-mate Francesco Bagnaia for the championship this season. This was following a stellar 2022 season with Gresini on a year-old Desmosedici, on which he collected four wins overall and finished third in the rider’s standings.

Despite recovering from his broken shoulder sustained during the season-opening Portuguese Grand Prix weekend, Bastianini has found it difficult to catch up to his teammate who leads in points this year.

Although he and his team made significant adjustments to the engine braking and brake lever positions on the bikes ahead of the Sepang weekend, he had previously shown lack of confidence in the Ducati.

The Italian qualified third, just 0.099s behind Bagnaia, and went on to win the Malaysian MotoGP after finishing second in the sprint race. He admitted the changes had an immediate effect and it felt great to be back, adding that he is now able to beat Bagnaia in the braking zones after previously finding it difficult.

“It’s fantastic to be back here after a s*** season for me,” said Bastianini. “We started the weekend with a different mindset because we understood what the solution was.

“My crew chief called me one week ago and told me they knew what I wanted, they’d checked the tyre data and felt they knew what I needed.

“The setup of the bike has remained the same, but we have changed the engine brake a lot in terms of its progression, and I have switched the brake lever to the first finger which has given me more confidence for the hard braking.

“I’ve been really close to Pecco (Bagnaia) this weekend, because if you look at the data from the past races I also lost too much time in this area to him and this weekend I’ve been much better.”

After a season of trying a lot of different things with little progress, Bastianini explained that he pushed throughout the race in an attempt to hold off Sepang sprint winner Alex Marquez. He further stated that the feeling of having finally achieved a competitive advance on this season’s Ducati was too exceptional.

“From that has arrived this great result, and I knew from yesterday (this was possible) because I saw my pace yesterday and realised I could win today,” continued Bastianini.

“I was fast this morning and my target was to be first in the opening corner and then stay there. I pushed like a b for the whole race.

“The emotion is too big when you try so many different things with yourself and the bike and nothing works, it’s always a bad situation.

“To come back from this is not easy, but my family has supported me all the time and now I’m back.”

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