With Martin and Bagnaia locked in a tight championship battle, rumours have been swirling for a few weeks that the former could step up to the factory Ducati squad next season.
Bastianini, having won four races in 2022 on a year-old bike, was chosen over Pramac’s Martin to replace Jack Miller at Ducati’s factory squad for this year.
But the Italian has had a difficult year, missing eight grands prix in total due to two injuries, which severely limited his time to adapt to the 2023-spec Ducati, prior to his comeback victory at the Malaysian GP last weekend.
During the Sepang weekend, Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti told motogp.com that promoting Martin was a possibility despite Bastianini having a contract with the factory for 2024.
“As everyone knows, we confirmed Enea for the official team at end of August,” Ciabatti said.
“It’s true with Martin’s current level of performance it’s a reality we should consider but no decision taken obviously, but let’s see. We cannot ignore this level of performance.”
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team, Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing
Bagnaia, who was third in the Malaysian GP, feels Bastianini deserves a second chance at the Ducati factory squad and believes Martin’s current situation at Pramac makes no sense to change.
“I already said on Thursday what I feel,” Bagnaia said at Sepang when asked about the subject.
“I feel that Enea deserves another possibility for what happened all the season.
“He never had the chance to understand well this bike, and when he was starting to understand something he crashed again in Barcelona.
“So, for me everybody needs another opportunity. And considering the results that Jorge is having at team Pramac, which is a factory team with different colours, I don’t see this change.
“I think it’s better for Enea and for the team too for Enea to remain in the same team.
“Absolutely Jorge is doing an outstanding job, it’s fantastic what he is doing. But I think Enea deserves another possibility.”
Bastianini said over the Malaysian GP weekend that he was not feeling pressured by the Martin rumours, having made a breakthrough with the setting of his Ducati improve corner entry, which ultimately helped him to his win.