Ducati boss talks 2023 factory seat, Mir rumours and Zarco

Paolo Ciabatti provides some clarity about Ducati’s 2023 MotoGP™ line-up, including the fate of Johann Zarco

It’s a crazier than usual MotoGP™ silly season and the Ducati Lenovo Team has been in the headlines in recent days with confirmation that Jack Miller is on his way to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing next year. That leaves a seat officially vacant at the Bologna marque’s factory team, and will also have implications for the rest of its line-up. With plenty of rumours flying around about who might be on a Desmosedici next year, MotoGP™ Pitlane Reporter Simon Crafar decided to get the word from the proverbial horse’s mouth during FP3 at the Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.

Our man with the microphone tracked down Ducati Corse Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti, who was typically forthcoming with information. He dispelled suggestions that current Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Joan Mir, who had been heavily linked to the Repsol Honda Team, might be on his way to Ducati instead, and also gave a firm indication that Johann Zarco continues to be part of their plans at Prima Pramac Racing.

However, a decision over whether to give the second ride in the official team to Pramac incumbent Jorge Martin or current Gresini Racing MotoGP™ rider Enea Bastianini is still yet to be made. Martin has only just been in for hand surgery, and will get more time to make his case against the Italian who has three race wins already in 2022.

“As we said already, we would like to take some time,” said Ciabatti when queried about who will take over Miller’s old seat. “Probably we will wait until the second race of August in order to assess a bit the situation.

“The target was to have Enea and Jorge with us last year. I think we’ve reached it. Now it is time to decide who goes to the factory team… We would like to give Jorge a bit more chances to ride the bike without physical problems too.

“I heard some people mentioning Joan Mir. He is a great rider, but we never had any contact with him. The decision is going to be between Jorge and Enea for the factory seat. No other rider is included.

“We will renew with Johann Zarco in Pramac. This is closing a bit the gossip about potentially a new rider coming to us. I think there plenty of competitive riders in Ducati and we need to make the best choice between them.”

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