Ducati considering a MotoGP rider swap for 2024

Ducati considering a MotoGP rider swap for 2024

A source close to Ducati told Racetrackmasters that there is a contractual option to swap Sunday’s German Grand Prix race winner Jorge Martin in the factory squad for the 2022 season with championship contender Enea Bastianini.

This raises the likelihood that Ducati’s MotoGP management will be forced to make a significant decision in the coming weeks.

A crucial decision would need to be taken over the upcoming five-week summer break, according to Ducati CEO Paolo Ciabatti, and that choice was specifically being delayed by Bastianini’s injury.

This topic has been hinted at for some time. Jorge Martin brought it up once more as he prepared for this weekend’s race at the Sachsenring.

“I don’t think about it a lot,” the Pramac Ducati rider told MotoGP.com. “I hear something about Ducati, that they need to decide something.

“I don’t know exactly what they need to decide. Maybe if I have a possibility to go the factory team, would be great.

“But it’s not a thing that I’m thinking of now.

“I feel great with Pramac, I have a nice bike. It’s the same as the factory team. I feel like it’s no big change if we move.”

The Spaniard put on an impressive performance at the German track, defeating factory rider and defending world champion Pecco Bagnaia to win both the sprint and feature race. As a result, that prospect is likely to have moved to the top of Ducati’s priority list in the coming weeks.

Furthermore, it’s obvious that Bastianini, who finished third last year, feels like he’s on the back foot after only finishing two full race weekends out of seven so far this year.

Bastianini is still recovering from the shoulder injuries he sustained at the opening round of the championship in Portimao back in March when he was knocked off by fellow Ducati racer Luca Marini.

Since his return, Bastianini has been contending in the bottom half of the top 10 as he works to improve his fitness. Although that is a drawback, he frequently stated he “needs more time” and emphasized at the Sachsenring that the main issue was his lack of experience with the Ducati GP23 due to his extended hiatus.

Bastianini and Martin will compete for the factory bike in 2022, and although Martin entered this season disappointed from not defeating the four-time MotoGP race winner for promotion, he has to be commended for turning that disappointment into a positive.

This season, Martin has come out of the gates looking stronger than ever before and is able to maintain his undisputed speed with a recent consistency and growth on the bike.

Yet even while Bastianini may not be at all to blame for his problems so far this season, Martin has undoubtedly had a bigger influence on the title to this point.

As a result of his two victories in sprint races as well as his podium finishes in the championship’s first three rounds, he heads to the Netherlands in second place overall, just 16 points behind Bagnaia, while Bastianini, who is out with an injury, has only earned 16 points overall.

Martin’s victories at Sachsenring have, however, categorically refuted any rumors that he would be enticed away by another manufacturer, which may be a relief to Ducati management.

He may have been close to signing a contract with Yamaha to take Franco Morbidelli’s place early this season, according to rumors.

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