until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


‘Nobody minded Honda’s 10 years of dominance’ – Ducati defended

by Simon Patterson, Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Ducati’s current MotoGP supremacy is just part of racing and not out of step with past premier-class dominance by the likes of Honda, says VR46 rider Luca Marini.

With eight bikes on the grid – four more than any other marque – Ducati has had a MotoGP season for the ages that looks likely to culminate in its first riders’ title since 2007.

With the teams’ title almost certainly in the bag and the constructors’ championship having gone Ducati’s way with a remarkable five races to spare, it is on course for the first ‘triple crown’ of MotoGP championships in 2019, when Marc Marquez’s relentless dominance almost single-handedly powered Honda to the top spot in each of the categories.

Ducati in MotoGP 2022 (so far)

Wins – 11 out of 18 (61.1%)
Podiums – 29 out of 54 (53.7%)
Points – 1125 out of 2520 (44.6%)
Pole positions – 14 out of 18 (77.8%)
Front row starts – 38 out of 54 (70.4%)
Laps led – 302 out of 441 (68.5%)

Ducati’s performance at Phillip Island – a track where the Desmosedici hadn’t excelled historically after Casey Stoner’s exit but where Ducati locked out every place from P3 to P8 in 2022 – was dubbed “ridiculous” by Aprilia’s title hopeful Aleix Espargaro, who admitted it was frustrating to see how wide a range of riders were able to run at the front with the Desmosedici.

Asked whether he was sympathetic to Espargaro’s frustration and whether Ducati’s dominance could be a problem for MotoGP, Marini said at Sepang: “No. Not at all. It’s racing.

Aleix Espargaro Marco Bezzecchi Luca Marini MotoGP

“Every time, every year was like this. For example Honda dominated for 10 years and nobody was complaining about this. Just spend more money or make a better job, I don’t know, just try to improve.

“I think that Aprilia made a huge step and Aleix needs to be proud and happy of what they have now because from behind the bike is incredible and really strong, like every bike in this moment in MotoGP.

“It’s just that having so many fast riders and strong riders in Ducati, this makes the difference in my opinion.”

Marini’s reference to Honda dominance presumably alludes to the end of the 500cc era and the early days of MotoGP – the former span having included a 1997 season in which Honda won every race and its riders claimed all but six of the available podium finishes.

Mick Doohan Alex Criville Tadayuki Okada Honda MotoGP

But, while dismissive of Espargaro’s frustration, Marini did acknowledge that having eight riders in the camp was a massive benefit potentially worth serious amounts of laptime.

In 2022, Marini is one of five Ducati riders on Desmosedici GP22s – alongside works duo Pecco Bagnaia and Jack Miller, and Pramac team-mates Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco – while there are three more competitive year-old bikes in the hands of Gresini pair Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio, and Marini’s team-mate Marco Bezzecchi.

“In every track, every rider has a strong point, a strong corner, and seeing the data of each rider you can improve a lot.

“You can improve your bike but you can improve your style. And we are pushing each other every weekend, a lot.

“So I think it’s just for this that Ducati also is stronger.

Luca Marini V46 Ducati MotoGP

“For sure they made an amazing job. Their engineers are the best. The bike is the strongest, the fastest. But also they have, in my opinion, the best riders.

“In Aprilia they are only two [four next year], they have less data, maybe sometimes Aleix is faster than Maverick [Vinales] so he cannot compare data and he cannot understand in which way he can improve.

“While every time I can check a corner by Pecco, by Jorge, by Bezz, by Enea, or Miller, or Zarco, because everybody is strong – also Diggia sometimes is really strong.

“You can have a look at the data and the rider can take out two tenths or three tenths more in their pace, that makes the difference for winning a race or not.”

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