MotoGP: Ducati investing in the future stars
Ducati have announced the signing of Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia to their factory team for 2021, investing in young riders.
Ducati have pulled off a masterpiece it is safe to say, they have hired all of the talent of the future to sit in their ranks with 1 signature still missing. Ducati announced 3 signings on the 30th September, with two major future stars being confirmed, firstly Francesco Bagnaia the 2018 Moto2 champion, secondly, Jorge Martin, the 2018 Moto3 champion who currently sits in fifth place in the Moto2 standings. This is not forgetting their other signing of Enea Bastianini to Avintia to replace Johann Zarco, Enea currently sits in second place in the Moto2 standings.
There is also one more name left to announce, Luca Marini, Moto2 championship leader, Luca is understood to be in talks with Ducati but his situation is unknown, rumours have confirmed that the VR46 have spoken to Avintia about buying their second seat for Marini.
Luca Marini leads the Moto2 standings after 8 races with 5 x podiums and 3 x wins
If Ducati were to sign Marini on an official contract as well, they will have signed 3 of the top 5 riders in Moto2 currently, including the potential champion of the class. No other manufacturer is anywhere near as close to investing in the future this heavily. They have seen the benefits of hiring younger riders has had over the last few years with Marc Marquez, Fabio Quartararo, Miguel Oliveira, Brad Binder, Alex Rins and Joan Mir, to name a few.
Ducati want a slice of this ‘super-fast, podium finishing young talent’ pie, signing 3 of these potential riders. All 3 riders have won in Moto2 this season and are all either 22 (Bastianini/Martin) or 23 (Marini), meaning there is plenty of life in these riders to develop them into true title contenders. Putting them in teams like Pramac and Avintia will be perfect for them to grow and nourish their talent in the class without the added pressure of having to fight for podiums and victories. Johann Zarco will also be on the other side of the Pramac garage, he will be able to share data with the three rookies to enable them to improve their riding and will set a benchmark for the riders.
Francesco Bagnaia is living proof of a rider developed by Ducati, he is currently just 23 years old and has signed for the factory team with a MotoGP class podium under his belt, as well as experience in leading races, this will be perfect for the factory team, the factory team will hold a lot more pressure than Pramac, but he has proven he can handle this when he won the Moto2 championship.
Following a disappointing rookie year, Bagnaia has silenced critics in 2020
Jack Miller has a job on his hands, originally signed as Ducati’s ‘number 2 rider’ for 2021, he has to step up to the plate with Dovizioso leaving. Miller will now be the number 1 man and the man all other 5 Ducati’s will want to be beating, therefore he needs to be able to prove he is capable. Miller is yet another rider who has been developed by Ducati into a true fighter who is capable of fighting for wins, winning for Honda at Assen 2016. Miller was also signed by Ducati as a 23-year-old and in this time has scored 7 podiums and has been incredibly close to victory many times.
Ducati have put their money where their mouth is, in 2/3 years time, no doubt we will be seeing these young riders on the top step of the podium.
Featured image – www.motogp.com