Bagnaia and Bastianini ‘ready to battle, Marquez to beat’| Christina Bulpett | MotoGP
Pecco Bagnaia is facing the MotoGP title defence with a new teammate and the number one plate on his Ducati Lenovo GP23.
Enea Bastianini is hoping his promotion from the satellite Gresini squad, and the 21-spec Desmosedici will be the step he needs to progress from third to first in the premier class standings.
“We were starting racing with a pocket bike so it’s a life that we know,” Bagnaia said of the two Italians before beginning to describe his new factory Ducati challenger.
“The correct answer is like he said last year, he’s a bastard!,” he said with a laugh. “Because he push like a bastard but no, I think he’s a smart guy. A very competitive guy. We want the same thing and we will do the maximum to achieve it. So the battle between us will be intense, but we have to be intelligent and respectful to have a good relationship.
“The big difference is Pecco is MotoGP World Champion and me, no!” Bastianini replied. “He was, I think, really fast when he was young. We have battled a lot with the pocket bike, after with the MiniGP, in Moto3, and now he’s the most fast rider in the world. It is a pleasure to battle, to fight with him the next year, to try to win.”
While Bagnaia is set on defending his title, Bastianini is sure there’s at least one former champion waiting in the wings to snatch it back.
“Marc [Marquez] win eight titles and will be at one hundred percent,” the 24-year-old reflected on the Repsol Honda rider “I think also in the last part of the season he improved and he was fast and I think will be so difficult to battle with him.
“I think we have the potential to battle. The Ducati is a very fast bike, the factory team already good potential and I have to understand also the potential during the test.
“But is not only Marc, is Pecco, is Fabio Quartararo, is [Jorge] Martin, is [Joan] Mir, we have a lot of names but let’s see during the season.”
“Everyone’s a possibility to fight for a win and for the title,” Bagnaia agreed. “I think Marc will be, like Enea said, at one hundred per cent because already last year was okay and if Honda will be competitive, he will be in the front.
“If not, it will be more difficult because in the era we are living, MotoGP is very important everything - all the bikes are so competitive for winning races. The level is very high so a lot of riders, Quartararo, Enea, Marquez, I think [Franky] Morbidelli will be okay, [Miguel] Oliveira with Aprilia will be so competitive. I think [Brad] Binder will be competitive. For sure I’m forgetting someone but will be very tough, very difficult.
“Our objective is to be better and try to defend what we did last year and I will try to do it with all my capacity.”