Apart from his superb Sepang outing towards the end of the season, 2023 was a season to forget for Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team).
‘The Beast’ missed nine races through injury, including the opening five rounds of his first campaign in the famous factory Ducati red. One win wasn’t in the script when Bastianini was promoted to the sought-after seat alongside Francesco Bagnaia, with the Italian claiming four wins and a further two podiums in an eye-catching 2022 season.
As well as the injuries, Bastianini struggled to fully connect with Ducati’s 2023 Desmosedici. However, the 2020 Moto2™ World Champion was firing on all cylinders again as MotoGP™ returned to the PETRONAS Sepang International Circuit for three days of pre-season testing.
Bastianini joined Bagnaia, Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) and Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) in the 1:56 lap time club on Day 3, and when speaking to motogp.com's Simon Crafar and Jack Gorst in Sepang, Ducati Lenovo Team Manager Davide Tardozzi shared his delight at seeing the “2022 Enea” return.
“Enea is absolutely over the moon because after a really bad year he had last year, struggling with confidence with the bike, all the injuries, the accident in the first race in Portimao, it was something really heavy to have on his shoulders,” said the experienced Italian.
“He had a good race in Malaysia but he was struggling until the end in Valencia. But now he is another rider, he’s the Enea Bastianini that we saw in 2022 and we are really confident that he will be one of the contenders.”
Tardozzi also praised the teamwork that both Bastianini and Bagnaia have done so far in 2024, with the Italian marque kicking off the new year in the same way they finished last season – top of the timesheets.
“I have to thank Pecco and Enea, how they worked as a team with the engineers. I’ve seen how many ideas they’ve exchanged between them, they were talking a lot about new parts and I’ve seen a really, really good confidence between the two of them and that helps the engineers a lot,” commented Tardozzi.
Two days of Official Test action await in Qatar. Will Bastianini continue to show that he’s back to his dazzling best ahead of Round 1?