How Ducati turned its feared MotoGP strength into a problem in Qatar
Enea Bastianini's victory in the Qatar Grand Prix was good and bad news for Ducati. The Italian's breakthrough win on a year-old Gresini bike, and the sluggishness exhibited by the 2022 models, suggests that Ducati has failed to take advantage of having a third of the MotoGP grid and leaves it with issues to resolve
While it is true that the pre-season tests at Sepang and Mandalika already gave an inkling that Ducati would not arrive at the 2022 MotoGP season-opener as strong as expected, it was not easy to imagine a scenario as adverse as the one that transpired in Qatar last Sunday.
Gresini's Enea Bastianini assertively took the win in a very fast race, almost 11 seconds faster than the second one held in Qatar last year, on a track with much more grip. After staying on Pol Espargaro's backside throughout the race, the Gresini sophomore passed the Honda rider and unleashed a devastating turn of pace that no one could reply to.
Ducati has littered the grid with eight strong motorcycles that has ensured it has had at least one rider stand on the podium at every grand prix in 2022. The drama of the Aragon Grand Prix has thrust Francesco Bagnaia well and truly into title contention with five races to go, and Ducati must now consider utilising a unique strength it has so far been reticent to embrace
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