The possibility of both factory Ducati riders fighting for the world championship this season was among the topics on the latest Crash.net MotoGP podcast featuring Keith Huewen.
MotoGP team-mates fighting head-to-head for the title hasn’t happened since Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo at Yamaha in 2015 and has never occurred at Ducati.
On paper, reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia and new team-mate Enea Bastianini, a four-time race winner at Gresini, are certainly more than capable.
But it’s Bagnaia who goes into the new season as the clear favourite after topping the final pre-season test in both qualifying and race trim, while Bastianini’s winter was more under-the-radar, signing off sixth fastest.
“Bagnaia’s got a lot of confidence in his bike and just seems to be in a fantastic place now,” said Crash.net’s MotoGP editor Pete McLaren.
“There were question marks over whether Bastianini coming into the Ducati team, a guy who caused Pecco problems in races last year, was going to rock the boat if you like.
“But really it’s been a faultless, perfect pre-season for Pecco.”
“Bastianini’s still going to rock the boat, that’s happening, don’t worry!” responded former grand prix rider and British champion Huewen.
“I think with 42 races we have got a long way to go. You might not have the sharpest of starts to a season, but when you’ve got 42 races – OK, some of them are only half points – there’s plenty of time for a comeback.
“Even last year, with 21 races, who would have thought Bagnaia could come back from a 91-point deficit? This year there’s a real opportunity to turn your season around after a difficult start, or to mess up a championship lead just when you think you’ve got it won!
“It is going to be intense out there. There are going to be injuries to deal with – Espargaro’s already had an operation before the first round.
“Speaking of which, I think Aprilia are really on a roll at the moment, they’ve got four good riders that are going to be there or thereabouts, amongst the Ducatis.”
Keyword: Keith Huewen: 'Bastianini will rock the boat'