Here's What Enea Bastianini Is Worried About For 2023 - 'It Can Be A Problem For Me'
In 2023, Enea Bastianini will compete on the World Champion bike. Despite the excellent conditions, the Italian knows that not everything is in his favor.
After his sensational second MotoGP season on the Gresini Racing Team’s customer Ducati, nothing really stands in the way of Enea Bastianini’s success in the factory team in 2023.
Alongside new team-mate Francesco Bagnaia and Yamaha top star Fabio Quartararo, the four-time MotoGP race winner is one of the hottest irons in the MotoGP fire.
But it would be naive to believe that everything would go smoothly in his third season in the premier class and that the 25-year-old would pick up where he left off in 2022.
Bastianini himself sees it that way too. After all, a great uncertainty awaits the MotoGP stars in the new year – the newly introduced sprint races.
These are likely to suit riders who are better placed in qualifying, such as Jorge Martin and Francesco Bagnaia.
In the short distance, the main thing is to keep the speed as high as possible over a small number of laps.
Managing tire wear, as Enea Bastianini did to perfection last season, is unlikely to play a role in the short distance. In 2022, the Italian had taken the lead in all four of his race wins in the final third of the race.
Qatar 2022: Bastianini takes race lead on Lap 18 of 22
COTA 2022: Bastianini takes race lead on Lap 16 of 20
Le Mans 2022: Bastianini takes race lead on Lap 21 of 27
Aragon 2022: Bastianini takes race lead on Lap 23 of 23
To be successful in the new year, especially in the sprint races, Bastianini will have to close the gap between his pace at the start and his late-race pace.
“I have to close this gap because, for the sprint races, it can be a problem for me. But I think we can modify [my riding style] a little bit,” acknowledges the 2020 Moto2 World Champion.
He also sees the possibility of choosing a different tire as a remedy.
“In some sprint races we will be able to use different tires compared to the Sunday [race],” he said. “My style is to conserve [the tires] a little bit at the start and after I can push more.”
The idea of sprint races originated in the World Superbike Championship, where Dorna Sports introduced them in 2019.
The new format was initially met with some criticism but was quickly accepted by many riders and teams as an action-packed Saturday highlight.
Thanks to the close cooperation between the Ducati teams in MotoGP and WorldSBK, Enea Bastianini is hoping that Ducati Superbike rider Alvaro Bautista and the World Champion’s teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi will provide a further helpful component.
In particular, Spaniard Bautista has four years of experience in Superbike sprint racing and could provide useful advice for new sprinters Bagnaia and Bastianini.
The latter analyses: “I think the first sprint race will be a test for everybody and my approach to it […] will need to be different.”
“Let’s see how it is and maybe we can speak with Alvaro because he has made a lot of sprint races.”