Martin’s ‘main objective’ is to take Miller’s seat in MotoGP

Jorge Martin after qualifying on pole for the Qatar Grand Prix this month

Jorge Martin has identified taking over the Ducati MotoGP factory seat currently occupied by Jack Miller as his “main objective”.

Martin has just started his second season in the premier class, still with Pramac Racing, but he is already a winner on the big bikes after triumphing last year at the Michelin Grand Prix of Styria.

Then he was identified by Ducati Corse managing director Gigi Dall’Igna as a likely future factory team rider, and he went on to impress in what is effectively his B team.

The 24-year-old is already under contract directly with the manufacturer, as is normal practice for Pramac, but his contract expires at the end of the 2022 campaign, as does Miller’s.

Also in attendance is Gresini Racing’s Enea Bastianini, who cemented his position by winning the Qatar Grand Prix to take the championship lead earlier this month in a year-old Desmosedici. .

Martin was dropped from this race by the man who already has a contract to ride for the Ducati Lenovo team in 2023, Francesco Bagnaia, but is confident of his chances of joining the Italian there next year.

“My main goal is to be an official Ducati rider,” he told MotoGP media rights holder in his native Spain, DAZN.

“It will depend on the results. If we are ahead, we will be where we need to be.

While victory at the Red Bull Ring last year was Pramac’s first in the premier class, the team has the latest GP22 bikes for its two riders, the other being Johann Zarco.

The difference between the factory team and Pramac basically comes down to the fact that the former has priority for technical support during a race weekend, and Martin is not ruling out a title bid this year.

“I can be MotoGP World Champion; I don’t know if it will be this year, next year or the year after,” he said.

“But I can, I can. I have the potential, so it’s in my goals.

“I don’t think I’m a dark horse or that I’m not a dark horse. Everyone knows my potential and everyone knows how far I can go.

“I was a bit of a dark horse in the [pre-season] practice because I had no intention of doing a big lap and then we had a lot of problems.

“I am not considered a [championship] pretender, but I have the potential to do so.

As for the GP22 package, that remains a question mark.

Jack Miller

Ducati made headlines before the riders hit the track at the Lusail International Circuit for the first practice session of the year when it emerged the factory team had reverted to a “hybrid ” of its 2021 and 2022 engines.

Martin qualified on pole using the fully 2022 spec engine, but got off to a bad start and finished eighth when he was beaten by Bagnaia on lap 12.

Miller’s race was already over after his bike got “lost” and delivered erratic bursts of power, with the best of the new Ducati riders at the checkered flag being Zarco in eighth, and Mooney VR46’s Luca Marini the only other GP22 driver to go home, in the 13th.

Bagnaia fumed after the race that he was “not a tester” after struggling all weekend, and while it seemed like every other manufacturer besides Yamaha made improvements during the offseason, Martin thinks that no bike particularly stands out at the moment.

“I don’t think the Ducati is the best bike on the grid,” said the Spaniard.

“I think it’s a very complete bike, it’s a factory that has a lot of good riders, young people who learn quickly and with a high level.

“I don’t think there is currently one bike that is better than another, and I think this year the others have come close.

“But I think the team, whether it’s the engineers or the mechanics that we have at Pramac and Ducati, are incredible and they put a lot of passion into it, that’s why we have a bike that has improved so much these last last years. .

“But I think there are other bikes that win, the one that won the world championship is a Yamaha and I think the best is the Yamaha.

“We have to keep working and until we win the world championship we won’t be the best bike.”

Bastianini, meanwhile, thinks Miller and Martin are under more pressure given that they have the latest bikes.

“In my team, I don’t have a lot of pressure now because I’m not in the factory team,” he said when asked by what the Qatar win meant for him. his own factory team ambitions.

“I think at the moment though the other riders, especially with the 2022 bike, have more pressure than me.

“But, it’s not one of my problems, the pressure.”

The second round of the season, the Indonesia Grand Prix, begins with opening practice tomorrow at Mandalika International Street Circuit.

About Rachelle Roosevelt

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