Motorcycle Racing

Bagnaia thinks “Ducati and Aprilia are unbeatable” ahead of MotoGP 2023

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

The Ducati rider topped last weekend’s final pre-season test in Portugal with an unofficial lap record having been fastest on both days at the Algarve track.

This completed a clean sweep for Ducati in winter testing, the marque topping all five days in 2023 with its riders.

Ducati’s strong winter has come against a backdrop of struggles for Honda, KTM and Yamaha, with the latter only making a breakthrough with its 2023 bike on the last day of testing in Portugal.

Read more: What we learned from the final MotoGP pre-season test of 2023

Looking at the pecking order as testing came to a close, Bagnaia believes Ducati and fellow Italian marque Aprilia are in the strongest position heading into the new campaign next weekend.

“I saw that Ducati and Aprilia at this moment are unbeatable,” he said.

“They are very competitive. But it’s very difficult to know, because sincerely it was easier to understand the tests years ago.

“Now, looking at the pace, looking at everything, you don’t know which tyres, which part of the bike they were testing.

“So, I don’t know. But at this moment it looks like we have more advantage than last year.

“It looks like this, but I don’t want to say anything before the race because I already did this mistake [last year] and I don’t want to repeat the same mistake.”

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Though Ducati and Bagnaia are clear favourites for the title as the new season starts, Bagnaia was reticent to make any firm assertions on this matter.

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But he did admit that, had the first race of 2023 taken place directly after testing, he is “ready to fight for the win”.

“Sincerely, I don’t like to put [up a name as] a title contender, to say one is the favourite during a test because you don’t know what the work someone is doing – like Marc [Marquez] didn’t do a time attack,” he added.

“So, it’s very difficult to know. For sure, after this test if the race will be [the day after] we are ready to fight for the win.

“That is clear. But in any case, more than one rider is competitive enough to fight for the top positions.”

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