The 2024 MotoGP™ rider line-up rumour mill has been turning for some time now and at the SHARK Grand Prix de France Ducati Corse Sporting Director, Paolo Ciabatti, shed some light on the situation surrounding Prima Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin.
The Spaniard has a contract in place for 2024 to stay with Ducati, but there have been a few murmurings that Martin could potentially join a rival factory in 2024. Martin himself said he was “open to everything” when talking about his future at the beginning of the season.
When asked about Martin’s future at the French GP, Ciabatti expressed his and Ducati’s desire to keep Martin as part of their Bologna factory family – as well as identifying the manufacturer Martin has been linked with.
“Yeah sure, he has an option in the contract, we would like him to stay with Ducati,” said Ciabatti during MotoGP™ P2 to motogp.com pitlane reporter Jack Appleyard. “He's one of the fastest young riders, and at the moment it doesn't look like Yamaha has the bike to win the Championship.
“I'm sorry to say, but this is what it looks like at the moment. We don't know about next year but at the moment he's on a winning bike and I think he'd like to stay because he likes to win.”
Ciabatti is referring to Yamaha’s tricky start to 2023, with Fabio Quartararo and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™ teammate Franco Morbidelli currently P9 and P13 in the World Championship respectively. Contrastingly, Martin sits P4 after his double Le Mans rostrum, one place ahead of teammate Johann Zarco and only 14 points off current leader Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), with another Ducati in the form of Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) in second after his French GP victory.
Ciabatti also admitted that Bastianini’s Round 1 injury has delayed Ducati’s planning for 2024, while the Italian also reiterated they’d like to keep all four of their current GP23 riders.
“Honestly, we didn't make any decision for the future. Unfortunately, Enea has been out for few races so obviously, we'd like to keep all the riders with us. You know that the Gresini and VR46 riders are currently contracted to the team.
“So the contract with Pecco, Enea, Johann and Jorge. In principle we’re happy with all of them, it's a bit too early for us to say, regarding the problem with Enea and the crash, it’s obviously delaying everything.”
It’s clear Ducati want to keep the #89, and understandably so. But will that be the case? It’s one to keep a keen eye on for sure as we get set for MotoGP™’s Italy, Germany, and Netherlands triple-header before the summer break then begins.