January 9, 2023

Ducati “needs to make a step” to fight for 2021 MotoGP title

Ducati currently sits second in the manufacturers’ table, 17 points behind Yamaha, while three of its riders – Pramac’s Johann Zarco and factory team pair Bagnaia and Jack Miller – occupy three of the top four spots in the riders’ title.

Zarco is Quartararo’s nearest rival heading into the summer break, though is some 34 points adrift, while Bagnaia is third in the standings but with a gulf of 47 points to the Yamaha rider.

Bagnaia made a storming start to 2021, scoring podiums in three of the first four races, but crashed while leading at Mugello and was outside of the top four at Barcelona, Sachsenring and Assen.

The Italian’s form, however, is a marked improvement over his first two seasons, with his current haul of 109 points greater than his combined total from tough 2019 and 2020 seasons.

This point leaves him satisfied about the first nine races of his 2021 season, but concedes any hopes of fighting for the title rely on Ducati making a step forward with its bike in the second half of the year.

“Yeah, I’m happy just for that reason,” Bagnaia said reflecting on his season so far.

“But we need to make a step because if we want to fight for the title, or to have a chance to fight for the title we need to improve.

“I have to improve as a rider and the bike has to improve like the best bikes.

“So, we will have a lot of work to do.

“I will work a lot over the summer break to be prepared, to be more ready in Austria and I would like to speak a lot with the team to find something to help us, because at the moment Fabio and the Yamaha are a step ahead of us.”

Last week teammate Miller told Motorsport.com at a track day at Barcelona that he felt his double race-winning form in 2021 and Bagnaia’s consistency has done enough to vindicate Ducati’s decision to promote both of them to the factory squad this season.

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