until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Ducati's 2025 MotoGP rider options: Pros and cons

by Simon Patterson
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The 2024 MotoGP season hasn't yet kicked off, but one thing is already set for the future: reigning world champion Pecco Bagnaia has already signed up for another two seasons with the dominant factory Ducati team, ensuring that he’ll be the key figure in the squad until the end of the 2026 season at the very earliest.

However, the question of who his team-mate will be is a slightly different matter.

There are a number of contenders within Ducati’s ranks and the firm is in no rush at all to sign up a second rider until it sees how the cards fall once the season gets underway in the coming weekends.

It’s certainly not going to be an easy decision for veteran team boss Gigi Dall’Igna as he makes the call on whether to keep Enea Bastianini onboard or to look elsewhere in the Ducati stable - and if so, where.

Here are our thoughts on the pros and cons of each of the realistic contenders.

Enea Bastianini

Current status: Bagnaia’s factory Ducati team-mate

Pros: A known quantity for Ducati thanks to his current role within the team, and a five-time grand prix winner.

Though Bastianini had a disappointing debut season in factory colours last year as he struggled repeatedly with injuries, he ended the season on a high with a race win at Sepang.

Now with a strong testing programme under his belt, he’ll be aiming to start the season how he left it off.

Cons: There are still going to be questions about Bastianini’s form until he proves that he’s back to the level of consistency in 2022 that secured him the factory seat in the first place.

2023 was a total write-off, despite that return to form at the end of the year, and he’s got to be back to fighting for podiums from day one if he’s to impress the Ducati bosses.

There’s a lingering doubt over whether the sprint weekend format might be incompatible with a rider whose key trick at Gresini was late-race pace and charging through the field. Bastianini is adamant that’s a question of mental approach that he can and will conquer.

Jorge Martin

Current status: Pramac Ducati rider

Pros: If we learned anything in 2023, it’s that Jorge Martin is blisteringly fast on his day.

Taking the title fight to Bagnaia right until the end of last year, he was one of the two standouts of the championship and inarguably deserved a factory seat for this year rather than the satellite Pramac spot he’s retained. He’s Ducati’s fastest non-factory racer, and just needs to keep producing that form.

Cons: Martin might have been rapid last year, but he was also his own worst enemy, with a number of errors on the track and a few mistakes off it that all added up to a loss to Bagnaia.

He’s got a chip on his shoulder (not helped by not getting a red bike for 2024), and his ego might play a role in any negotiations as well.

Marc Marquez

Current status: Gresini Ducati rider

Pros: Simply put, he’s Marc Marquez. He comes with a huge reputation, a huge history, and commercially there’s probably no other racer that Ducati’s sponsors would rather have on the bike.

He’s also obviously incredibly talented, as evidenced by his past record, and if he’s back to being fully fit then he’ll be super fast too, once the adaptation process is done.

Cons: Right now, despite being a six-time MotoGP champion, Marquez is a complete and utter unknown quantity.

He’s suggested that he’s struggling with his lingering arm injury more than we’ve realised, and it’s going to take a few races to figure out what his real level will be in a post-Honda world.

And while a rider line-up with potentially nine MotoGP titles between them looks golden on paper for Ducati, would it be harmonious in reality?

Marco Bezzecchi 

Current situation: VR46 Ducati rider

Pros: Perhaps the biggest benefit that Bezzecchi would bring to the team is that he would step easily into the role of support act to best friend and fellow Valentino Rossi protege Bagnaia.

He’d probably be the double champion’s first preference alongside him, and though a number two role might not necessarily be in Bezzecchi’s immediate best interests, he needs a factory ride - and if it’s a route to one, then he should jump at it.

Cons: Bezzecchi was fast in 2023, but he wasn’t exactly consistent. There were plenty of crashes and, even worse, plenty of race weekends where he just didn’t really figure.

He doesn’t need to find more speed in the opening races of this year, he just needs to be at the same level every weekend.

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