Unfair Competition? - Ducatisti Paolo Ciabatti On Providing Bikes to More Than A Third Of the grid in 2023
After Suzuki’s inglorious exit from MotoGP at the end of this year’s season, the starting field of the premier class is reduced to 22 riders. In 2023 Ducati will provide more than a third of the bikes.
In recent weeks, voices have been raised around the MotoGP paddock that Ducati’s increasing involvement in the MotoGP grid could have serious consequences for the fairness of the championship.
The 2023 MotoGP grid will be filled with Ducatis – Image provided by Motorsport Images
As with this season, Ducati will continue to provide eight of the competing bikes over the next two years. Considering Suzuki’s withdrawal, this means more than a third of the total grid.
Opponents from MotoGP, including Stefan Pierer, head of the Pierer Mobility Group, which will be represented by KTM and GasGas in the premier class from 2023, consider the growing participation of the Italians to be unfair competition.
However, the numerical superiority of the Ducati bikes does not come from anywhere. The Italians have a few trump cards on their side: unrivaled track support for the customer teams in MotoGP, as well as smooth logistics, at least externally, are just two of the points.
On top of that, the Ducati seems to be the easiest bike for new riders at the moment. While factories like Yamaha and Honda struggle with the rideability of their MotoGP rockets, even the rookies of the 2022 season were able to fight for podiums and pole positions on the Ducati.
Fabio Di Giannantonio celebrating his Pole Position in Mugello – Image provided by Motorsport Images
Ciabatti goes on to talk about the VR46 team in particular: “The VR46 team is made up of very serious people, the riders are happy with the Desmosedici bikes. This is shown by the results they achieve.”
Despite Ducati’s current leading position in MotoGP, the Italian’s track director can’t hide a certain displeasure with the preponderance of Ducati bikes on the grid.
“I understand that in the medium to long term it is not an ideal situation when we have four teams,” Ciabatti admits. But Ducati’s concept is convincing the customer teams.
The Japanese manufacturers in particular are struggling with the latest developments in MotoGP. Yamaha, for example, lost its satellite team for the new season and will compete with only two bikes in 2023.
Likewise, Honda lost the trust of various customer teams in the near past, including the now-Ducati Gresini Racing Team. Since 2020, Honda has only provided four bikes for MotoGP.
In 2023, eight Ducatis, four Hondas, four Aprilias, and bikes from the Pierer Group, as well as the two remaining Yamahas will compete.