How the two see each other

Francesco Bagnaia (l) and Enea Bastianini (r) | photo © Evert Slager

Enea Bastianini will start his first season as a Ducati Lenovo Team rider in 2023. He will face the reigning MotoGP world champion Francesco Bagnaia as a teammate on the team. As he fought many duels with his compatriot last season, the big question is how the two will handle this next season. However, the two believe that this will not cause problems, because they have known each other for years and therefore know what they can do with each other.

In 2022, Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller formed the driving duo within the Ducati Lenovo Team. It’s an open secret that the Italian was the undisputed number 1 driver within the team and Miller was comfortable in that role. In 2023, however, the world champion will be joined by Enea Bastianini, a compatriot, but certainly also a driver who, with four victories last season, showed that he also has the potential to be a regular front runner.

However, some of Bastianini’s wins and top positions came after a tough duel with his new teammate in the race. Who does not remember the duels of the two in Le Mans, Misano, Aragón and Sepang. Some felt that these duels were (too) aggressive and that this could cause tension within the Ducati Lenovo Team in 2023.

The two rejected these stories on Monday, after the team presentation in the Italian ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio, in a conversation with the media. In short, both men look forward to the 2023 season with confidence.

Francesco Bagnaia: “We have known each other all our lives, we rode together when we were still active in pocket bikes. But yes, how should I describe Enea. Haha, as he always says himself; he’s an asshole. No kidding, Enea is a very smart guy, very fast and competitive and we know from each other that we both strive for the same as sportsmen.
We both have to give our all for this. The battles between each other will certainly be intense, but we must be wise and respectful to maintain our mutual good relationship, but I am confident that it will be. I’ll be really frustrated if I lose to him, but it’s no different than if I lose to another driver.”

Enea Bastianini: “The big difference is: Pecco is world champion in MotoGP, I am not. Pecco was already very fast when we raced against each other in our combined time in pocket bikes and later in MiniGP and even Moto3. We didn’t race against each other in Moto2, but now in MotoGP we met regularly again last season. He is a talent and now also one of the fastest drivers in the world. It is a pleasure to fight and try to win with him in the years to come. Emotions are high. 2022 was one of my best seasons, I won four races. But that doesn’t count anymore, from now on we start a new adventure as an official factory driver. The most important thing now is to stay focused, riding in Ducati’s official colors comes with a certain responsibility. It is now up to me to prove that I deserve this opportunity. But anyway I’m very happy and I think we’ll both do well. During the test in Valencia, we already got to know the new engine for the first time for me. I think we have all the cards to do well. You should always enjoy what you do. We will all do our best and give our maximum effort. But just to reassure you again, I don’t think our relationship will change in the future.”

Bagnaia and Bastianini will meet on track for the first time in 2023 at the first official MotoGP test on February 10, 11 and 12 in Sepang. But the first time World Championship points are at stake will be on Saturday 25 March in the first Grand Prix weekend of the season in Portimão, where the first ever MotoGP Sprint race will be held.

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