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A half-century of MotoGP™ victories is not to be sniffed at. Ducati joined an elite club of fellow manufacturers on Sunday after Andrea Dovizioso completed a hat-trick of wins around the Red Bull Ring. Since returning to the premier class in 2003, the Bologna factory have been, for the most part, regular front-runners and have now reached 50 wins during that time. So, let's take a look at how they got there.
#50DucatiWINS History has been made today at the Red Bull Ring as @andreadovizioso signed @ducatimotor's 50th success in MotoGP since joining the series back in 2003! ????— Ducati Corse (@ducaticorse) August 16, 2020
Thanks to all the riders and people who have contributed, and all the Ducatisti for their fantastic support! pic.twitter.com/TR9NZwX72s
Ducati's first victory in the MotoGP™ class came courtesy of Loris Capirossi at the 2003 Catalan Grand Prix. That year was an important one for the Desmosedici as they well and truly announced themselves back on the world stage after years of success in the WorldSBK Championship. At their very first race back, Capirossi finished third behind Honda's Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi to take their first rostrum. And they didn't have to wait much longer to taste victory, with Capirossi capitalising on a mistake from the World Champion, Valentino Rossi, to take victory by over three seconds in Barcelona. Capirossi would go on to take six more victories in the famous red of Ducati and finds himself third on the list of most MotoGP™ wins for the factory.
Three riders have taken just a single victory for Ducati and all three of them are memorable occasions. None more so than Troy Bayliss' singluar MotoGP™ victory at the 2006 season finale in Valencia. A day that will always be remembered for the late, great Nicky Hayden clinching his only premier class title, Bayliss shocked the world by taking victory despite being a wildcard. Andrea Iannone took his only Ducati win at the Red Bull Ring and kicked off their undefeated run that was extended to five straight wins on Sunday. And, of course, current Ducati Team rider Danilo Petrucci currently has the one victory to his name at last year's Italian Grand Prix after an unforgettable race at Mugello.
Five-time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo picked up three victories for the red brand during his two-year stay. The Spaniard was an unstoppable force during a part of 2018 as he cruised to back-to-back wins at Mugello and Catalunya, before making it three in six races with victory at the Red Bull Ring. Maybe Lorenzo will get a chance to add to those three wins in 2021 with rumours circulating that Ducati may well bring him out of retirement to replace the departing Andrea Dovizioso.
At the top of Ducati's list though is unsurprisingly two names. First, Dovizioso with now 14 wins and then, of course, the only man to have clinched the MotoGP™ World Championship for Ducati, MotoGP™ Legend Casey Stoner with 23 victories. With Dovizioso now only having ten races left in the Ducati garage, it'll take something quite remarkable for him to surpass the Australian as Ducati's most winningest rider. Dovizioso's first came back in 2016 when he took victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix, just reward after nearly four fruitless years with the Bologna factory. He would clinch six a year later as he came the closest anyone has in recent times to dethroning Marc Marquez, and backed it up with four in 2018 and two in 2019 to complete a three year stretch of ending runner-up in the MotoGP™ World Championship.
Stoner was quite simply unbeatable in 2007 when he made the jump to Ducati. In his debut year with the Italians he took ten victories, finished off the podium on just four occasions and cruised to Ducati's only MotoGP™ title to date. In the three years that followed, he clinched a further 13 victories in red and placed himself in Bologna folklore as their most successful rider in MotoGP™ history, a tag that looks like remaining with the two-time premier class World Champion for the foreseeable future.
The question now lies with who can take Ducati's 51st victory? They're certainly not short of contenders with Dovizioso, Pramac Racing's Jack Miller and Esponsorama Racing's Johann Zarco all fancying their chances when we return to the Red Bull Ring this weekend. You'd be a brave man to bet against Ducati making it a sensational six straight wins in Austria on Sunday.
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