After doubling his MotoGP points tally in the last three races, Francesco Bagnaia arrives home to Misano within reach of title runner-up Aleix Espargaro.
Bagnaia’s win streak has taken the factory Ducati star to within 12 points of Aprilia’s Espargaro, who is in turn 32 behind Yamaha’s reigning title holder Fabio Quartararo.
But Misano has been hero-or-zero territory for Bagnaia in recent years, the highs of a debut MotoGP podium in 2020 and victory last season contrasting with two accidents while leading, the last of which confirmed Quartararo as the 2021 champion.
As such, Bagnaia won’t be taking anything for granted this weekend, as he chases his fourth win in a row and sixth of the season.
“I’m thrilled to be back racing in Misano this weekend,” Bagnaia said. “I live 20 minutes from the circuit, and it’s a really special track for me.
“I have a lot of good memories here, so it will be an exciting weekend! Plus, there will definitely be a lot of Ducatisti in the stands, so the atmosphere will be even more unique.
“We arrive in Misano after winning the last three races, and also last year, we came first in the San Marino GP, so expectations are high.
Jack Miller heads for final Ducati home race
Bagnaia isn’t the only factory Ducati rider climbing up the world championship standings in recent rounds.
Team-mate Jack Miller has risen from ninth to fifth courtesy of three podiums in the last four races, following a set-up breakthrough at the Barcelona test.
Now just two points behind Pramac’s Johann Zarco, Sunday will mark Miller’s final race appearance for Ducati on the factory’s home Italian asphalt before he joins KTM next season.
“I’m excited to race at Misano this weekend! Our team is going through a really positive moment, so I hope we can give great emotions to all our fans here at our home track,” said Miller, who moved to Ducati from Honda in 2018.
“In general, I’ve always been quite competitive on this track. In the last few Grands Prix, I’ve felt more and more comfortable on the Desmosedici GP, so I’m confident I can find the same positive feelings here”
While Bagnaia’s four DNFs mean he is still playing catch-up in the riders’ standings, Ducati currently leads both the constructors’ and teams’ championships.