Motorcycles Ducati wants to keep its six MotoGP bikes for 2022
New sponsor and new drivers in red - Ducati MotoGP Team 2021
With Lenovo as the new main sponsor and the pilots Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia promoted to factory drivers, Ducati is starting the new MotoGP season. © Ducati "It's red." says Pecco Bagnaia when he sees himself in his new leather suit in the Ducati factory colors for the first time. Shortly before, he and his teammate Jack Miller were able to examine their new workplaces.
Ducati is keen to continue fielding six bikes in MotoGP beyond the 2021 season and has been in contact with Gresini Racing about a potential tie-up.
The Italian manufacturer is the only one of the six present on the current MotoGP grid who supplies bikes to two satellite squads on top of its factory effort.
Long-time partner Pramac receives full factory support from Ducati, with both current championship leader Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin running identical machinery to works team duo Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia.
Bagnaia doesn't feel like number two rider at Ducati MotoGP
Francesco Bagnaia says Ducati has not made him feel like a number two rider in its factory MotoGP squad, despite teammate Jack Miller being tipped as an early title favourite. © Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images Jack Miller, Ducati Team Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team Ducati has refreshed its factory line-up for 2021, bringing in former Pramac pair Miller and Bagnaia to replace the ousted Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci. Miller ended pre-season testing fastest of all with an unofficial lap record in Qatar of 1m53.183s, while 2018 Moto2 champion Bagnaia was just 0.281s behind him in fifth.
Ducati also supplies two-year-old bikes to Avintia, with all Ducati riders contracted directly to the Italian manufacturer.
Speaking to the language version of Motorsport.com, Paolo Ciabatti says the aim is to continue fielding six bikes in 2022.
"In our case, the idea is to continue in the coming years with six bikes, i.e. with a second independent team," Ducati's sporting director said.
"It is a system that we are very comfortable with. It is also a way of being able to keep some riders who we believe have earned the right to be in MotoGP."
Ducati's desire to continue running six bikes beyond this season hinges on a number of factors, with the make-up of the 2022 grid still in a state of flux.
Next season is the first of a new five-year contract cycle between MotoGP, the manufacturers and the independent teams.
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Ducati, Yamaha, KTM and Honda has confirmed its stay in MotoGP beyond 2021, while the deal between the international road race teams' association (IRTA), which represents the satellite teams, and Dorna Sports has already been renewed.
Avintia will not be on the grid after 2021, with the team confirming late last year its decision to quit MotoGP at the end of its current contract period.
Those two grid slots are set to go to a Valentino Rossi entry, which backs Luca Marini's side of the garage, with the rookie running VR46 colours on his Ducati.
Gresini – which was the first satellite team to commit to MotoGP for 2022 – will no longer be Aprilia's factory entrant next season, with the Italian team looking like the strongest contender to link up with Ducati.
Ducati's hopes to continue fielding six bikes will also depend on what Suzuki and Aprilia do in terms of its own satellite operations.
Jorge Lorenzo: "Driving style of Vinales fits more about Ducati and Honda"
Jorge Lorenzo recognizes at Vinales weaknesses compared to Yamaha colleague Quartararo - on the other side he dares Ducati with Bagnaia the World Cup title to Maverick Vinales Stand Qatar as a rejubated start-up winner of the MotoGP season 2021 on the podium. Since then, the Spaniard has been overshadowed by his Yamaha team-colleague Fabio Quartararo, which is new in the team. Quartararo won in Doha and Portimao.
Both marques currently only field two bikes, but both have expressed a desire to supply a customer outfit from 2022.
The MotoGP grid is currently made up of 22 bikes, with that number capped at 24, meaning satellite operations for Aprilia and Suzuki would stop Ducati from continuing to field six bikes unless another independent team severs ties with their current manufacturer.
Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis confirmed earlier this year the Japanese marque's discussions with satellite teams will centre on Petronas SRT – whose current three-year deal with the marque expires this year – and VR46, with talks set to begin over the next two months.
SRT boss Razlan Razali hasn't ruled out a tie-up with another marque, or even joining forces with VR46 in 2022, but stressed any future decision will be dictated by Petronas' wishes.
At KTM, Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal revealed earlier this year a new first-draft deal with the Austrian marque had been tabled and talks about extending their partnership were at an advanced stage.
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Star Moto2 rookie Raul Fernandez will move up to the MotoGP World Championship in 2022 with Tech3 and KTM, Autosport has learned. © Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images Raul Fernandez, Red Bull KTM Ajo Fernandez stepped up to the intermediate class with Aki Ajo’s squad for 2021 and has taken the Moto2 championship by storm, winning twice in the first eight races of the campaign. His current Ajo Moto2 team-mate Remy Gardner was announced as a Tech3 MotoGP rider for 2022 earlier this month, with Fernandez linked to the second seat at Herve Poncharal’s team.