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Ducati: COTA MotoGP podium “essential step” for Bastianini

Ducati’s general manager Gigi Dall’Igna says Enea Bastianini’s ride to third at the MotoGP Americas Grand Prix was “an essential step” for the Italian, whose future remains uncertain.

Enea Bastianini, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bastianini is in the final year of his two-season contract with the factory Ducati squad and was spared demotion for 2024 by Pramac’s Jorge Martin not winning the title in 2023.

Four times a grand prix winner in 2022 on the Gresini Ducati, Bastianini struggled for form in an injury-plagued campaign in 2023.

But the start to 2024 has been much more promising, with Bastianini on pole in Portugal before finishing second in the grand prix, while in America he overtook Martin late on for third.

The top Ducati at the chequered flag in what proved to be a tough race for the Italian marque, Dall’Igna heaped praise on Bastianini’s step forward.

“It was a long and gripping race, lively and vibrant, on a track that is most demanding in physical terms,” Dall’Igna said in his race debrief.

“Many duels and much overtaking that saw us as protagonists in a no-holds-barred contest marked by tracts of chiaroscuro, lights and shadows.

“For Enea this is an important podium, confirming that he is among the key figures on the track, race after race, with a constancy that he is gradually regaining.

Enea Bastianini, Ducati Team

Enea Bastianini, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“His was the first Ducati under the chequered flag, with a finish that reached a crescendo after a tentative start, now placing him second in the world championship standings.

“What he needed was greater continuity, and this is another essential step in the right direction.”

Francesco Bagnaia and Martin both suffered from chatter problems during the Americas GP, which has been a problem all Ducati riders have been hit by this year.

This contributed to what Dall’Igna described as Bagnaia’s “very meagre haul” of points for sixth in the sprint and fifth in the GP.

With this problem affecting Ducati early in 2024, Dall’Igna has put great significance on a private test with Michele Pirro prior to next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

“The championship is long and difficult, and there will be no shortage of ups and downs for everyone,” he added.

“We have to give of our best to provide our riders with the chance to express their top performance.

Watch: MotoGP: Vinales recovers from 11th to win | 2024 #AmericasGP

“That's why the next test with Michele in Barcelona will be of great importance: there we will be testing some changes to the bike’s set-up, to then be reconfirmed with the factory riders during the tests scheduled for the day following the Jerez Grand Prix.”

Dall’Igna also praised Gresini’s Marc Marquez for briefly leading the Americas GP prior to his brake problem-induced crash.

“Even though he crashed, Marc proved to be an extraordinary interpreter of the race, even taking the lead and this says a lot about his skull and experience as well as his determination and enthusiasm,” he said.

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