La Bestia earns the Factory ride after a heated battle with Prima Pramac Ducati's Jorge Martin.
It’s been a long silly season in MotoGP. After Fabio Quartararo resigned with the Yamaha Factory team, it seemed like the rider’s market would just fall into place. That is until Suzuki dropped the bombshell that it would leave the Grand Prix series following the 2022 season. With two top-notch riders looking for a new team to call home, silly season has dragged out for months now.
However, the puzzle has taken shape more recently. When Jack Miller signed with the Red Bull KTM team after completing his 2021-2022 Ducati Factory contract, the move left a power vacuum in the Bologna brand’s pit box. That left sophomore MotoGP riders Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini to battle for the open seat.
La Bestia came out swinging, winning three of the season’s first seven races. Conversely, the Martinator crashed out of four of the first seven contests, despite finishing second in the Argentinian Grand Prix. Martin made up ground in the next six rounds, though, snagging another runner-up finish and remaining in the top ten in all but one race. Still, the Spanish rider couldn’t make up enough ground.
After 13 rounds, Martin sits at ninth place in the rider’s title standings with 87 points. Bastianini, on the other hand, has claimed 118 over the course of the season, earning him the sixth spot in the championship chase. With all those metrics leaning in the Italian rider’s favor, Ducati tapped the Beast to race alongside Francesco “Pecco” Bagnai in 2023.
“I am really very happy to be able to wear the colors of the official Ducati team from next season,” admitted Bastianini. “My dream became reality. I learned a lot during these two years spent in MotoGP and I think I can only improve further alongside the engineers and men of the Ducati Lenovo Team!”
While Martin has to settle for the consolation prize, remaining in the Prima Pramac Ducati satellite squad, all parties are happy with the team’s current dynamic.
“I am very happy to keep Johann and Jorge in our box next season,” explained Prima Pramac Racing Team Principal Paolo Campinoti. “(Martin and Johann Zarco) are two exceptional men and very talented pilots. We have achieved great things with them and I am convinced that during this second half of the season and next year, we will improve a lot together.”
Only a few open MotoGP seats remain on the 2023 starting grid, but with Bastianini seizing the Ducati Factory seat, silly season looks like it’s coming to an end very soon.