Every time “you anticipate him to fully reach his level” in MotoGP, says Ducati general manager Gigi Dall’Igna, Francesco Bagnaia “takes another step.”
Bagnaia had a breakout 2021 season as a factory team Ducati rider after two challenging seasons with the Pramac Ducati in 2019 and 2020.
Bagnaia was a factor in the title battle until the latter stages of the season, winning four races and finishing only 26 points behind world champion Fabio Quartararo in second place.
Bagnaia was one of several Ducati riders to triumph in 2021, with teammate Jack Miller winning twice, Pramac rookie Jorge Martin winning the Styrian Grand Prix, and Avintia debutant Enea Bastianini finishing second and third on his 2019 bike.
“All of the guys did a great job, that’s apparent,” Dall’Igna stated when asked who astonished him the most this season.
“Martin scored pole in his second MotoGP race, which is very difficult to do.
“He won a race in his first season, that’s not easy. But Pecco did a great job as well, especially in the second part of the season, he was the best.
“He won four of the last six races, which should have been five if he hadn’t crashed in Misano.
“He was on the podium in Austin. To be honest, Pecco is a rider who keeps improving every year and when you expect him to really reach his level, he takes another step.
“I don’t know who surprised me the most. Even Enea, he didn’t have the official bike.
“He had to use a GP19 because we couldn’t do anything else, even with that bike he was brilliant at certain moments like in Misano.
“What is especially impressive is that he is very competitive in the last part of the race – often as strong as the winner of the race.
“He needs to improve on Friday and Saturday, but if he can start further up front I think he’s going to be part of the game.”
Ducati stated earlier this year that it would take over as the only bike supplier for the all-electric MotoE World Cup from Energica in 2023.
Dall’Igna believes there are “many things that are exciting from an engineer’s point of view” in this new Ducati initiative and that he is “glad” he can work on it.
“It’s new for us, but we have to make sure that with Ducati Corse we bring a good bike to the track,” Dall’Igna said.
“I think the electric bike is a nice challenge for an engineer, you can develop something in a completely different way.
“How are you going to get power from the battery, how are you going to recharge it?
“There are many things that are very interesting from an engineer’s point of view, I really look forward to that challenge.
“I’m glad I get to work on that, I’d rather start right away.”
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