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Ducati’s Dilemma: Choosing Bagnaia’s 2025 Teammate Ahead of Mugello Deadline

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Does Honda's 2011 roster offer the ideal fix for Ducati's predicament?

With the informal Mugello deadline approaching, the question of who will be Francesco Bagnaia's factory Ducati team-mate in 2025 remains unresolved.

Who will it be – Marc Marquez, Jorge Martin, or Enea Bastianini? This weekend's MotoGP race in Catalunya is anticipated to be the final showdown before Ducati announces who will join Francesco Bagnaia as his teammate for the 2025 MotoGP season at the upcoming Mugello event.

Has the decision been finalized already?

"Pete McLaren, the editor of MotoGP at Crash.net, emphasized during this week's MotoGP podcast that there's a distinct gap between declaring a decision and actually executing it."

The possibility of the Mugello event has been circulating for some time. Gigi has brought it up, suggesting it's the fair course of action. He believes it's important to give the affected riders ample opportunity to seek alternative positions if they choose to.

"It's quite a fair-minded action to take. However, I believe if they're making the announcement at Mugello, it's because they've already made their choice. Reflecting on Dovi's situation in 2020, and even the prolonged decisions regarding Bastianini and Martin from a few years ago, those situations were drawn out well into the later months of the year.

"Historically, Ducati has been known to take their time when uncertain. However, their recent mention of Mugello, coinciding with Catalunya this weekend, suggests they've already made their decision on who they want."

"Gigi is clearly an exceptional engineer. As someone who is focused on data, he has a strong inclination towards numbers. His approach involves closely examining outcomes and performances, and it's apparent he's gathered sufficient information."

Podcast presenter Jordan Moreland responded: "What level of challenge do you believe Ducati faces in evaluating a rider like Martin, who has been with them and shown growth over several seasons, against someone like Marquez, who has only participated in a handful of races for them?

"McLaren mentioned that efforts will be made to forecast each rider's trajectory: The focus will be on its gradient, the anticipated direction it will take moving forward, and the expected skill level of each rider by, for instance, the beginning of the following year."

"It's challenging, isn't it? You have Jorge Martin, a young rider who's performing incredibly well. What else could he possibly achieve right now? He's clinched victories in several Grand Prix events and Sprint races, and he's currently topping the World Championship standings. Plus, he's outperforming Pecco, the rider Ducati has signed on, all while being part of a satellite team.

"However, Marc is competing against these individuals on a bike that's a year old, despite having participated in only five Grand Prix races with a Ducati. So, it's intriguing to think about how his performance will evolve. Moreover, Gigi's comments regarding examining the track records of the racers have caught everyone's attention, especially since there's one competitor in the lineup with a more extensive history than the rest!"

"In an ideal scenario, when you're Ducati, your ultimate aspiration is to retain both riders. That's the pinnacle of your ambitions. With Bagnaia in your team, if you could also secure Martin and Marquez on factory motorcycles for the upcoming season, imagine the powerhouse team that would create!

"It's possible that Bastianini might find more joy, for instance, in exchanging places with Marquez and returning to Gresini, a team where he previously achieved victories and seemed truly at ease."

"There's a possibility of retaining all of these riders, but that hinges on bringing Martin into the factory team. The reason being, securing Marc for the factory team means losing Martin, assuming we take Martin's statements at face value. He has made it clear he isn't interested in continuing as a satellite rider for additional seasons.

Marc hasn't been very explicit regarding his non-negotiable conditions, yet it appears there's a substantial likelihood he would remain with Ducati, riding a factory bike within a satellite team.

"Therefore, for Ducati to maintain their team, their best shot at achieving this is by securing Martin for the factory squad."

Moreland stated, "Currently, aside from Pecco, Fermin Aldeguer is the only other Ducati competitor with a contract, but his future team remains uncertain, particularly as Pramac hasn't guaranteed their continued partnership with Ducati yet.

Additionally, the decision regarding Aleix Espargaro's future with Aprilia and the potential candidates for his position is creating a ripple effect.

"The audience has shared their views, with some advocating for Martin's move to the factory Ducati team, while others believe Marquez will secure the position following Gigi's reference to the riders' backgrounds."

"However, when it comes to the business aspect, Marquez undoubtedly remains a major attraction, surpassing any other competitor in terms of popularity. This is evident from the sheer number of Gresini jerseys seen among the audience this season."

"Marc possesses significant celebrity appeal and marketing influence, and Ducati needs to consider all aspects. However, letting go of Martin isn't desirable either! This is the challenge, trying to keep all these elements in balance," McLaren responded.

"Considering the marketing aspects, positioning Marc with a factory-liveried, factory-spec motorcycle within the Gresini team seems like the most viable option, especially since they lack a main sponsor."

"He's riding a crimson Ducati, resembling the official team motorcycles. It's similar to Pirro's appearance during a wild-card event. Should he secure the championship title, the allure of Marquez donning the complete Ducati red for promotional purposes remains intact."

"This would create a visual link to the official Ducati team, closely mirroring the time Repsol Honda fielded three motorcycles for Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, and Andrea Dovizioso in 2011 as a solution to their lineup dilemma."

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