Year 2018 was full of intoxicating highs and devastating lows for the Ducati factory. Coming off Dovizioso’s stunning 2017 championship campaign, Ducati looked set to challenge again, ready to fight at the front. However, this past season Ducati had some struggles, including a controversial crash that took out both riders, whilst also basking in Lorenzo’s victories, showing his determination as a rider.
During the 2018 MotoGP season, Ducati fielded 6 privateer Desmosedicis competed alongside the ‘works’ Desmosedicis. The Angel Nieto Racing team and Reale Avintia Racing team both ran GP16s as well as GP17s for the 2018 season. With Ducati’s main focus being a title fight, keeping track of the different electronics, specs and riders was a mammoth task.
The Angel Nieto Racing team will not compete in the MotoGP World Championship for the 2019 season, with their grid slots going to the Petronas Yamaha team. This will mean that Ducati Factory will run fewer motorcycles for the 2019 season, making their workload much lighter. The Reale Avintia Racing team will compete with Abraham and Rabat aboard GP18 Desmosedicis. The Alma Pramac Racing team will field one GP18 for Bagnaia and one Factory GP19 for Miller. Dovizioso and Petrucci will represent the Factory Ducati team, aboard GP19s, meaning that there will only be 2 specs of Desmosedici on the 2019 MotoGP grid.
“Next year we have two bikes less, this for sure is a shame in terms of money because for sure teams help us in terms of economics” Dall’Igna admitted. “But at the end, you know, we simplify the system because until 2018 we have 3 specs on the grid and this is not easy to manage. For the next season we have 3 riders with 2018 bikes, another 3 riders with 2019 bikes. So for sure we gain less money, but in terms of simplification this is a step forward and I always see the glass half full.”
Ducati are a factory very much focussed on their riders and the development of new riders along with their motorcycle. It is important to understand how pivotal this is in Ducati’s success. Dall’Igna commented that the similarities in Lorenzo’s riding style and Bagnaia’s style were a factor in the crew chief moves, however this is part of a more general approach by Ducati. “I would like to underline that we approach new riders in a different way in comparison with the other manufacturers, because we rotate the technician between two teams, Pramac and factory Ducati team, in order to have the continuity for the riders,” Dall’Igna said, “So we did this with Danilo, he continues with his chief technician and his electronics engineer (Cristian Battaglia) also for the season, we’ll do the same with Bagnaia.” Bagnaia, the reigning Moto2 World Champion, has been paired with crew chief Cristian Gabarrini, and electronics engineer Tommaso Pagano, who previously worked with Lorenzo during his time at Ducati.