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Ducati has not discussed rider status with 2023 MotoGP line-up

MotoGP Ducati boss Paolo Ciabatti says the team has not discussed rider status with either Enea Bastianini or Francesco Bagnaia, claiming both will have equal opportunities this season.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Reigning world champion Bagnaia will be joined at the factory squad by four-time race winner Bastianini in 2023 after he fought off Pramac’s Jorge Martin to claim the factory seat vacated by KTM’s new signing Jack Miller.

There were several flash points across the 2022 season in which Bagnaia and Bastianini locked horns on track, most notably at the penultimate round of the campaign in Malaysia when the former could have wrapped up the championship.

Ducati then had to field questions regarding a potentially tense relationship between both riders as team-mates in 2023 – though Ciabatti told Autosport last November that it was “a luxury” to have the line-up it does.

In an interview with Autosport’s Spanish language sister website Motorsport.es at the Sepang pre-season test earlier this month, Ciabatti says there has been no discussions since regarding number one rider status within the team and believes Bastianini will be more “calm” in 2023 than he was last year.

Enea Bastianini and Francesco Bagnaia will be team-mates at Ducati in 2023

Enea Bastianini and Francesco Bagnaia will be team-mates at Ducati in 2023

Photo by: Motorsport Images

“What needed to be clarified was already done last year,” Ciabatti said at Sepang. “Enea wanted to prove that he deserved the official bike.

“Now that he has it, his mentality has changed and he has understood that he has to work together with Pecco. We see them both with the same possibilities to fight for everything.

“Last year, Enea had a different motivation than now. I hope I'm not wrong, but I think we will be quite calm because Enea knows he has more responsibility.”

Ducati enjoyed a clean sweep of the three days of testing in Malaysia, with VR46 rider Luca Marini topping the outing overall with a 1m57.889s on his 2022-spec bike ahead of Bagnaia.

The factory riders felt the 2023 Desmosedici was already at the level of the title-winning 2022 bike and are now looking for refinements at the second test in Portugal next month before the season begins on 26 March at the Algarve International circuit.

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