Ducati have just announced that they’ve extended their contract with Pecco Bagnaia for another two years.
If you were to ask 100 MotoGP fans who they’d put their money on for the 2022 MotoGP season, plenty (if not the majority) would probably say Pecco Bagnaia. I know I would. After nine podiums, four victories, six pole positions and an absolutely stonking end to the ’21 season, it’s almost impossible to look past him.
It would seem Ducati have got plenty of faith in the Italian too, and not just for this year. They’ve just announced that they’re keeping hold of the Turin-born 25-year-old at the end of 2022, for a further two seasons.
With one of the hottest young riders on one of the fastest (if not the fastest) bikes on the grid, the rest of the field are really going to have to pull their socks up.
In fact, if Ducati keep improving their bike the way they have been, and Pecco keeps honing his skills as a MotoGP rider, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him dominate like Rossi circa 2001, Stoner circa 2011 or Marc Marquez circa 2009.
That said, there are a lot of top, top riders all on Ducati machinery. And besides that, there are still circuits that suit the other bikes. So whist Pecco’s in a strong position for this season, he’s not going to have it all his own way.
Speaking of his new, extended contract, he said this
“Being a Ducati rider in MotoGP has always been my dream, and knowing that I can continue with the Ducati Lenovo Team for another two seasons makes me happy and proud. I have found a serene environment in the factory team: I feel very much in tune with my team and know that we can do great things together. Now I can only concentrate on doing well in this Championship. A big thank you to Claudio, Gigi, Paolo, Davide and all the Ducati Corse staff. I’ll try to repay their trust with my results on the track!”
And his boss, Luigi Dall’Igna (General Manager of Ducati Corse) said,
“We are delighted to have Bagnaia with us for another two seasons. Since he arrived at Ducati in 2019, Pecco has shown great talent and the ability to interpret our Desmosedici GP very well, adapting to ride it in any condition. He did it, especially in the last season, during which he had significant growth and got to play for the World Title. The way he managed the races at Aragón, Misano, Portimão and Valencia, scoring four fantastic victories, is proof of his maturity as a rider. With these great qualities, we are sure that he has the potential to aim for the title with us”.
Luigi and Pecco will be a formidable force when the 2022 MotoGP season finally kicks off in just under two weeks’ time. And I can’t wait.