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Analysis

The Honda win record Ducati is nearing in its historic 2023 MotoGP season

Johann Zarco’s victory at the Australian Grand Prix marked the 13th for Ducati in an already historic 2023 MotoGP season and puts it two off of Honda’s absolute record.

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

With 148 points available from the remaining four rounds, Ducati has almost sealed the 2023 MotoGP riders’ title, with KTM’s Brad Binder just about mathematically in play – albeit 142 points adrift of Francesco Bagnaia.

Ducati has already wrapped up the constructors’ title, doing so courtesy of Jorge Martin’s sprint win in Indonesia, and one of its squads will win the teams’ title.

The fact Ducati is going through its best season ever is significantly highlighted by the decision of Marc Marquez to join the Gresini squad to ride a year-old Ducati in 2024, breaking a Honda contract at a cost of more than €15 million to do so.

Analysing the statistics of the season, it’s easy to see why Marquez made that decision.

The Italian marque has never in its history had three of its riders leading the world championship, with factory team runner Bagnaia 27 points clear of Pramac’s Martin – also on a 2023-spec Desmosedici – and 73 ahead of VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi on a year-old bike.

Whatever happens there, history will go the way of Ducati. Never has it won back-to-back riders’ titles, with its first and second championships split by 15 years.

Should Martin or Bezzecchi go on to win, they will become the first rider in the MotoGP era to win the title for a satellite squad and first since Valentino Rossi in 2001 in the 500cc class (though his entry was heavily factory-supported).

With Zarco’s breakout win in Australia last weekend, Ducati has now beaten its all-time victory tally for a single season at 13, which it also achieved last season.

With four rounds to go, Ducati is on course to match and possibly surpass Honda’s all-time win record for a campaign at 15, which it did in 1997 and 2003 during periods of domination for the Japanese marque with Mick Doohan and Rossi.

Valentino Rossi, Repsol Honda

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Valentino Rossi, Repsol Honda

Ducati’s points haul in the constructors’ standings sits at 552 following the Australian GP, while KTM is its nearest challenger on 296. Taking the points haul of the only two other manufacturers to win grands prix in 2023 – Honda (Alex Rins in America) and Aprilia (Aleix Espargaro in Britain and Barcelona), their combined tally stands at 424 (150 for Honda plus 274 for Aprilia).

Under the new sprint/grand prix format in 2023, Ducati has secured 10 doubles.

Saturday’s 1-2-3 in Australia takes Ducati’s podium haul to 32 for the season, equalling what it achieved in 2022, with 20 of the last 26 victories on offer going the way of the Italian manufacturer.

Of the 16 pole positions on offer in 2023 so far, Ducati has claimed 14 of them, with Marc Marquez in Portugal for Honda and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro at Jerez so far stopping a clean sweep.

It can’t be forgotten that Ducati does hold majority control of the 2023 grid slots by a third, with eight bikes representing it, while Honda, KTM and Aprilia have just four, and Yamaha has two.

Impressively, though, seven of the eight Ducati riders have scored grand prix podiums in 2023 (Enea Bastianini’s injury woes stopping a certain full house), while Aprilia, KTM and Honda have gotten just two of its riders to the rostrum on a Sunday and Yamaha only one.

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