The Ducati riders completed some very important and productive tests in Qatar. But rather than the testing itself, it appears that the work carried out in Borgo Panigale over the winter is really bearing fruit.

It also looks as if implementing a generational changeover on the factory team was the right decision, with both Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia standing out during the first sessions of the 2021 season.

Miller, the red arrow of Losail

We definitely can’t ignore what went on in the factory Ducati garage during the Qatar tests. On Wednesday at Losail, the riders’ third test day, Jack Miller was able to smash the track record. His time? A 1:53.183. The previous record belonged to Marc Marquez, a 1:53.380 that the Australian beat hands down. But as well as lapping fast, Miller was also pleased with the work carried out inside the garage and said he was trying to modify his riding style to better exploit the tyres.

Painstaking work that may well enable Jack to be one of the favourites this season. #43 has already completed three seasons aboard the Desmosedici and has very good knowledge of the bike. Now on the factory team, he can also count on a prototype that will have all the latest updates. Essentially, the bike looks like it might be a winner.

Not only Jack

But there’s more as, aside from Miller, the generational changeover also brings 24-year old Francesco Bagnaia to the factory team. He too has previous knowledge of the Desmosedici (riding for Ducati Pramac last season) and he’s keen to improve and surprise people. Pecco finished fifth overall in testing, an excellent result that saw him close right behind three Yamaha riders (Vinales, Quartararo and Morbidelli). But the Pramac and Esponsorama teams can also count on strong riders, from Johann Zarco who clearly has something to prove and closed ninth at Losail, to the three rookies Jorge Martin, Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini.

All are young yet experienced, having shone in Moto2 in 2020. And they got off to a good start at Losail, Jorge Martin finishing fourteenth, just ahead of Enea Bastianini, while Luca Marini set the 21st fastest time. Not bad for riders who’d never tasted a MotoGP bike before.

Basically, Ducati is a ticking time bomb ready to explode this year. Detonator in hand, it will need to decide whether to hang on for the title or implode ahead of time as has been the case, unfortunately, in recent seasons.

Translated by Heather Watson

MotoGP test: the technical updates spotted in Qatar