Di Giannantonio: Ducati Test Ride In Sight After Qatar Triumph
Published: 22nd November 2023
Fabio Di Giannantonio’s exhilaration over his maiden MotoGP victory in Qatar last Sunday was tempered by being without a contract for the 2024 MotoGP season.
Despite his impressive performance in his second season in the premier class, Di Giannantonio’s hopes for 2024 were dashed in both the Honda factory team, vying for Marc Marquez’s successor, and the Ducati customer team VR46, where he hoped to fill the spot left by Luca Marini’s upcoming move to Honda.
In a recent interview, VR46 Team Manager Alessio “Uccio” Salucci made it clear that Di Giannantonio would not be their choice for the second Ducati alongside Marco Bezzecchi in 2024.
Frustrated by the situation, Di Giannantonio expressed his disappointment, stating that he has only one option left: to go all out and give his best on the track. Di Giannantonio did exactly that during the Qatar weekend, securing second place in the sprint race and claiming victory in the Grand Prix.
Despite being the highest points scorer among the 22 MotoGP riders that weekend, Di Giannantonio finds himself without a confirmed ride for 2024.
Reflecting on his triumph, he emphasized the significance of his first Grand Prix win and declared that no one can take that achievement away from him.
The Italian rider acknowledged the challenging nature of MotoGP, highlighting the need for time to fully unleash one’s potential in the premier class.
He attributed his positive trajectory in the 2023 season to his collaboration with crew chief Francesco “Frankie” Carchedi, who joined the Gresini team in the winter of 2022/23.
Di Giannantonio credited Carchedi for helping him understand how to ride the Ducati and improve various technical aspects.
Despite winning his first race, Di Giannantonio admitted that he doesn’t feel entirely liberated, emphasizing that his dream is to continue in the MotoGP class, and true freedom will come when he secures a contract for the next year.
As the 2024 MotoGP grid fills up, the question arises: where could Di Giannantonio find a spot? While he has ruled out a return to Moto2 and is currently uninterested in World Superbike, Ducati Sport Director Paolo Ciabatti hinted at a potential role as a test rider for the Italian.
Ciabatti suggested that although a full-time ride might not be available, an offer for Di Giannantonio as a Ducati test rider could be on the table, with the possibility of some wildcard race appearances.
The current official Ducati test rider, Michele Pirro, has held the position for a decade, participating in 50 MotoGP races as a wildcard or substitute for an injured regular rider.
Ciabatti leaves the door open for Di Giannantonio to take on this role but expresses hope that he secures a full-time ride for the upcoming season.
In response, Di Giannantonio remains determined, stating that if he doesn’t find a spot in the field next year, he aims to return in 2025, emphasizing the ongoing effort to find the best path forward for his MotoGP career.