Monday, June 17, 2024

MOTORCYCLE & LIFESTYLE ONLINE MAGAZINE

HomeZA BikersBiking FeaturesMotoGP 2024: Mugello – Good Racing & Breaking News

MotoGP 2024: Mugello – Good Racing & Breaking News

Image source: MotoGP

For once, a MotoGP weekend that doesn’t need a thesaurus of superlatives or even a long-winded report! If we thought the racing might have been a bit processional, especially in the Main race, then that’s certainly not how Pecco Bagnaia will have viewed it, missing out on pole position but taking dominant victories in both Sprint and Main races and seriously eating into Jorge Martin’s championship lead, as the latter crashed out of the Sprint race.

Image source: MotoGP

Martin then lost out on a podium in the main race, thanks to an inspired overtake by Enea Bastiannini on the last corner of the last lap. It must have been sweet payback for the incident in the Sprint race where Martin cut back underneath Bastiannini after an overtake, hitting him and sending the factory Ducati rider into retirement.

Image source: MotoGP

Bagnaia never looked troubled, taking the lead at the first and second corners in Sprint and Main races respectively and soaking up all the pressure from behind, whether it was Martin, Marc Marquez or Bastiannini. Even at the end of the Main race, Martin had no answer for Bagnaia’s pace; he would close up to within three-tenths of a second but Bagnaia clearly had something in hand as he effortlessly increased the gap again. Perhaps Martin was really struggling, as evidenced by Bastiannini’s last corner pass, in which case, Martin’s efforts at keeping up the pressure on Bagnaia are to be applauded. A third-place podium will have been little consolation in the face of a huge points swing in Bagnaia’s favour.

Image source: PRAMAC Racing

In other news, Marc Marquez had another encouraging weekend, even if he had no response for the factory Ducati’s outright pace. A second and a fourth at a track where he expected to struggle are nothing to be ashamed of.

Image source: Gresini Racing

Similarly, Pedro Acosta had another strong weekend, with a third in the Sprint race and a fifth in the Main race. He will have hardly cared, with the ink still wet on a new factory KTM contract in his back pocket. That will be at the expense of Jack Miller, who can only hope that the lifeline of Acosta’s GasGas seat will be compensation.

Image source: GasGas Tech 3

Apart from that, there was precious little to report on the matter of who will be riding where in 2025. Prior to the weekend, Ducati had indicated that a decision on who would ride alongside Bagnaia in the factory Ducati team would be made at Mugello but Luigi Dall’Igna then announced that nothing would be announced at Mugello, so the saga continues.

Marc Marquez seemed to pour cold water on a possible move to Pramac Ducati and a current GP bike in 2025 but would Ducati be prepared to provide a fifth GP25 for him at Gresini in order to keep him in the fold? With Acosta and Binder holding the factory KTM rides, there’s no space there and, while there is a seat at Aprilia alongside Viñales, there has been little conjecture about such a move for Marquez.

Image source: Gresini Racing

Another option for Marquez could be a 2025 GasGas. Spanish newspaper Motorsport sensationally reported that KTM’s satellite project, Tech3 GASGAS, could offer Marquez a factory-spec bike in 2025, plus the chance to retain key sponsor Red Bull, which is allegedly a sticking point for Marquez heading to the factory Ducati squad. Pedro Acosta had a typically clear view of the whole situation; “At the end of the day, this Ducati thing looks like a soap opera. Every weekend we have a different answer but nobody knows anything.”

It is difficult to envisage any scenario other than Jorge Martin getting the seat – what more does he have to do? – but, just when you think Bastiannini has blown it, he has a great race weekend; is it a case of too little, too late, however?

Image source: PRAMAC Racing

We were due to head to Kazakhstan next, but that has been postponed to September, so we now have an interminable wait until the end of June for the Dutch TT at Assen. Surely, in that time, there will be more answers than questions as to the look of the 2025 grid? We can but hope.

Breaking News!

Bloody typical! You write a really boring race weekend report and think you’ve done your job; nothing too much to report and even the 2025 rider/team situation has died down, if only for a few days.

Image source: PRAMAC Racing

And then comes the complete bombshell that Jorge Martin, current championship leader and firm favourite to take the factory Ducati seat alongside Francesco Bagnaia in 2025, irrespective of whether he is able to take the rider’s title in 2024, has signed for Aprilia!

Image source: MotoGP

This is monumental, momentous, unprecedented. Well, maybe not that much as it has undoubtedly happened before – Rossi to Yamaha, anyone? – but in terms of the 2025 grid, it has huge implications.

Martin has always said that he would move to a different manufacturer if he didn’t get the factory Ducati seat. In what appears to be a calling-the-shots move, Aprilia has sensationally announced that Martin will ride the factory Aprilia in 2025.

Image source: PRAMAC Racing

Now, immediately prior to this, it was reported by Autosport magazine that Ducati informed Martin that he was the ‘chosen one’ (for 2025), between the Barcelona and Mugello rounds. Even if Marc Marquez was another name bandied around for the seat, Martin seemed a shoe-in.

Image source: Gresini Racing

Apparently not and perhaps we’ll never know the full reasoning behind the move but there you have it; Martin and Aprilia in 2025.

What that does mean is that Marquez is in pole position to get the second factory Ducati seat, while it has been reported that Bastiannini will head to Tech3 GasGas. Nothing has been confirmed at the time of writing and, as Martin has shown, nothing is certain until contracts are signed, sealed and delivered.

Image source: Gresini Racing
Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
From an early age, Harry was obsessed with anything that moved under its own steam, particularly cars and motorcycles. For reasons of a financial nature, his stable of fine automobiles failed to materialise, at which point he realised that motorcycles were far more affordable and so he started his two wheel career, owning, riding, building and fixing many classic bikes. Then came the day when he converted his love of bikes into a living, writing, filming and talking about them endlessly. The passion for four wheels never left him, however, and he has now converted his writing skills into singing the praises of cars in all their infinite variety. Bikes are still his favourite means of getting around but the car in its modern form is reaching a level of perfection that is hard to resist. And they're warmer in winter....
RELATED ARTICLES

STAY CONNECTED

74,000FansLike
10,500FollowersFollow