In Borgo Panigale, there are currently five contracted riders: Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci, Jack Miller, Francesco Bagnaia and Johann Zarco. There’s plenty of speculation in the air as to who is going where beyond 2020 – and not just with Ducati – as the Italian factory are yet to confirm who will wear red in next season.
The only way is up for Ducati
After having reportedly tried to contract top riders such as Marc Marquez and Maverick Viñales, the Ducati radar has now been extended to the Moto2™ class. Ducati Corse Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti recently admitted to Sky Sport Italia that they have been closely following the progress of “two big names”, specifically Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP 40) and Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) before also considering Spain’s Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo).
After highlighting the Italians, Ciabatti included the 2018 Moto3™ World Champion in the selection of desirable riders for Ducati. “They are certainly two important names to which we’d add Jorge Martin, riders who we have been following for a long time and who have good potential,” confessed the Ducati Corse Sporting Director, before clarifying that, yes, due to the current situation, a move with these riders could be delayed to 2022. Ciabatti also admitted that he had actually been following Bastianini particularly closely, but also confessed that the factory considered Baldassarri for the Avintia ride last year.
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Chicho Lorenzo, father or five-time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, explained that he had recently spoken with various Spanish riders and particularly highlighted Martin, saying “he’s riding the wave of the leaked news that Ducati are interested in him,” a factor that “could still distract him” from the 2020 season. Asking if Martin is ready to make the jump to Ducati or another premier class option, Chicho Lorenzo reminded us of previous successful riders who rapidly progressed through the ranks: “We have already seen riders who have made the leap quickly, even straight from Moto3 like Jack Miller”. He went on to praise the Spanish rider’s mettle, saying that his mentality reminded him of the revered Angel Nieto.
“Martin shows some things that I think are very important for a rider who wants to go far in the premier class: he has extraordinary faith in himself, he is a very intelligent rider, the races he won in the year he became Moto3 Champion showed great intelligence, that even reminded me of Angel Nieto, that awareness of the strategies and how he was able to put them into practice and make them work for him,” Chicho explained.
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Regarding this, Chicho Lorenzo pointed out that “they all want to get to MotoGP” and that “there isn't one who doesn’t dream of getting there” and even better if they end up “in an official team”. In order to be successful, Chicho believes in a formula: “Simply, it is about knowing how to solve problems with what you are going to encounter and for that, you also need a method because it’s a process: coming across a problem, analysing it, trial or error, don’t get disheartened and, in the end, and all of a sudden, you overcome the problem and move on to the next one.”
Chicho Lorenzo’s confidence in the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider is complete: “The ability that I believe Martin has is the same as the great riders. It’s one of the advantages that the great riders have, that they’re able to solve problems. It’s very important for a rider to know how to find solutions, be creative, analytical and resolute, and have a lot of confidence in themselves. These are the great advantages of a champion”, he said, referring to Martin who is sure to be a rider a few premier class teams are keeping a keen eye on. After the footprint left by the ‘Spartan’ in 2017 and 2018, will Borgo Panigale place their hopes on a Spanish rider again after this season?
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