Enea Bastianini is a real talent but this is not exactly a secret. His sixth-place finish at the GP of the Americas is one more demonstration of the growth path that the Italian rider has travelled during his first year in the top class.
The 2020 Moto2 World Champion took on his new Ducati-Avintia adventure with the usual calm and careful approach, one that has allowed him to quickly get to grips with the new category and finish in the points zone in six of the first nine races of the year, a ninth-place finish at Portimao his best result.
Then, after the summer break, came the first important step up for Bestia who showed he had the pace to get straight into Q2 during qualifying at Silverstone before a crash ruled him out. Then came a sixth-place finish at Aragon, which was followed by a magnificent podium at Misano and another excellent performance at Austin.
Results he has achieved despite not having top-of-line equipment, or rather a very good GP19 that is nevertheless old compared to almost every other bike on the grid.
A technical inferiority that will continue into 2022, when Enea will have an updated Ducati GP21. Unlike his current team-mate Luca Marini, who will climb aboard the new GP22.
A decision that seems unfair if we look at the results achieved by Rossi’s half-brother (just 30 points for Marini compared to 71 for Bastianini) and one that probably comes down to the economic support promised by the new VR46 team.
Bastianini deserves to have the ‘right’ bike in 2022, no ifs or buts. He’s proved that he has the potential to run with the top riders in MotoGP and, in order to do so on a regular basis, he needs to be able to battle with his rivals on equal terms.
Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati Corse Sporting Director, has tried to justify the decision. “Honestly, it’s not possible (to give Bastianini a factory bike)", admits Ciabatti while talking to The-Race.com. “Building more than five bikes for 2022 is almost impossible for us. Not only for cost-related reasons but for organisational and logistical reasons. They are all new parts and so could sometimes have reliability problems. It’s not possible. This year Enea is using a 2019 bike and seeing as we couldn’t develop new engines between 2020 and 2021 the bike has remained more or less the same. Next year he’ll have a GP21 with very recent specifications”.
Understandable logistical reasons then, but the fans are not impressed and continue to ask: “Why give Marini a factory bike and not Enea?”
This is business. With all due respect for his results on track. Tracks where Enea will again have to fight for the technical equipment he deserves with results and hard graft.
Nothing new, for a rider who’s always had to work for it and who will do exactly that again next year.
Translated by Heather Watson