Prior to the start of the 2021 season, it was clarified that both factory Ducati riders would be treated equally and that there was no number 1 and number 2 rider. But after the first three races, the two riders have performed in very different ways. And while Pecco Bagnaia places close to the top of the standings, thanks also to two podium finishes, we cannot say the same of Jack Miller, who has scored just 14 points to date.
Bagnaia has blossomed
Bagnaia’s season start has been one to remember. In three races, he’s achieved two podiums, finishing third in Qatar after having led for part of the race, and second at Portimão. Two excellent results obtained in different ways but that highlight the physical and mental growth of the VR46 Riders Academy rider. Pecco appears to have it all under control aboard the Ducati. Valentino Rossi himself admitted: “Many people haven’t yet understood his potential, but he’s really very talented”. And Bagnaia has proved just that over these first three race weekends, particularly in Portugal where he managed the race well and climbed from eleventh to second, behind Quartararo. And we have the sense that this might be just the beginning in terms of his results this season.
Meanwhile, his team-mate’s season is proving to be something of an uphill climb so far, with two ninth-place finishes at Losail followed by a minor surgery to help with the compartmental syndrome in his right forearm. This meant he wasn’t in the best shape at Portimão, but he was defending himself well before the crash. If we ignore the first race, which wasn’t his fault, the other two leave something to be desired, particularly considering that he’s often competitive on the Friday. If we look at how 2020 finished, we see a glaring contrast. So what’s happened? Just a series of coincidences or is there more to it? We’ll find out during the next races.
Translated by Heather Watson