Our riders will ‘think twice’ before joining MotoGP rivals

The Italian manufacturer is likely to shake up its line-up for the 2023 season, with Jack Miller set to lose his place in the factory squad.

MORE: Why Ducati holds all the power in its MotoGP rider dilemma

French Grand Prix winner Enea Bastianini and Jorge Martin de Pramac are the favorites to secure the Australian’s seat, the former reinforcing his claim after taking his third win of the season last weekend at Le Mans in his Ducati 2021-spec Gresini.

Martin’s manager was seen at Le Mans talking with Honda, but Ducati sporting director Ciabatti is convinced that whoever of Bastianini and Martin gets the factory seat, “will listen to a Ducati proposal before go away”.

“I think any rider who rides a Ducati today will think twice before going anywhere else,” Ciabatti told Autosport at Le Mans when asked if Ducati was concerned about alienating Martin or Bastianini with its decision to factory composition.

“Not just because the bike is very competitive, I think the whole package, the kind of technical support we give to the whole independent team, the fact that Gigi [Dall’Igna, general manager] going to talk to all of our riders after finishing with the factory team.

“It’s something that I think the riders and the teams really appreciate.

“On the other hand, I don’t think there are as many opportunities – or good opportunities – left in the market.

“Obviously we have to see what Honda is going to do. Apparently it looks like they don’t want to continue with Pol [Espargaro]. And then it’s if Aprilia wants to change its riders, which I don’t think.

Bastianini has been linked with replacing Miller in the factory team in 2022

Photo by: Gold and Goose/ Motorsport pictures

“But then the factory teams, unfortunately because of Suzuki’s decision [to quit]there isn’t much else—maybe KTM.

“But I don’t see the market as that active and that stressful, so riders who can do really well on a Ducati, I’m pretty sure they’ll listen to a Ducati proposal before going somewhere else.”

Miller has been in talks with Honda over a return to the LCR, while the three-time MotoGP race winner has also been linked with a KTM switch.

Ciabatti says Ducati would like to continue with Miller to some extent, but admits any offer is unlikely to be to his liking.

He also notes that Ducati is close to securing Martin and Bastianini for 2023 as part of its rider stable.

“We’ve always said we want to secure Jorge and Enea, and I think we’re basically there,” Ciabatti said.

“Obviously we also wanted to see if we could somehow continue with Jack because Jack is a great driver, we love him and so on.

“And obviously I think we can offer him something that he might not consider good enough for him and he might go in a different direction.

Ciabatti thinks Ducati riders won't do as good a deal elsewhere

Ciabatti thinks Ducati riders won’t do as good a deal elsewhere

Photo by: Gold and Goose/ Motorsport pictures

“But obviously looking at the results – okay, Martin is going through a tough time, but he’s done some fantastic things.

“Enea goes without saying, he is fighting for the championship. Zarco is racing fantastically – maybe he just lacks that spark to get on the podium more consistently.

“So luckily we had more than two bikes on the grid and a very good relationship with our independent teams to see if we can find a solution.

“But, as I said, we are at that stage where we need to assess the situation a bit and hopefully between Mugello and Assen, find a final configuration of riders for which teams etc.”

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