In this series of previews ahead of the 2021 MotoGP season, we will take a look at each of the teams and how they could perform, starting with Ducati.
Make sure to check out our other team previews too!
It is all change for the Ducati team in 2021. Out go Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci; in come Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia.
The reigning constructors’ champions rolled the dice this winter on their rider lineup. It feels like Miller’s been around forever. The former Grand Prix winner owns a lot of experience in the premier class.
Bagnaia is an up and coming youngster with bags of speed. The pairing is dynamic, a good blend of youthful exuberance and speed. It is risky from Ducati’s perspective as both riders are fast, as well as a bit reckless. The Italian squad won’t want to let go of their constructors’ title. So that is something both riders must cut out.
Last year the Ducati bike was consistently quick, if not class-leading quick. The bike seemed to own a wide operating window on a variety of tracks. How much of that was down to the experience of Dovizioso and Petrucci remains to be seen. Nevertheless, Ducati owns a good base from the 2020 bike. Only pre-season testing will start to reveal the competitive order.
A significant positive for the team is that the first two races will occur at Qatar’s Losail circuit. With that long pit straight, it should help Ducati and the powerful engine in that bike.
If Miller wishes to become a serial winner, a strong start is a must. As for Bagnaia, the young Italian owns all the speed; it’s a matter of consistency. If the bike is competitive, these two rapid riders could shake things up at the front.
One thing that will certainly be interesting to see this year is whether Ducati can keep hold of the constructors’ title. With both Dovizioso and Petrucci out, to make way for Miller and Bagnaia, can the two newcomers to the factory Ducati team take the fight to the front of the grid again for the Italian squad?
I believe that answer will be yes. We have seen in the past how fast Miller can be, especially on the Pramac most recently, he was always a consistent front-runner. With him finally getting the chance on full-factory machinery, I think the Australian will take to the bike very well and could even be a championship contender this year.
Bagnaia is certainly an exciting prospect for Ducati, entering his third year in the premier class, the Italian will know how to extract the most out of a Ducati coming into 2021.
Whilst I think it may take a year for the 24-year-old to fully get up to speed on the Desmosedici GP, he will definitely be on hand to get Ducati the results they need to stay at the top of the pack.
With pre-season testing just around the corner, we will get a wider scope of just how quick the Ducati team will be this year, but with the grid becoming more competitive than ever before, the Bologna-based squad will need to keep eye on their rivals.
We could see the likes of KTM and Suzuki really pushing Ducati this year, so the bike needs to be consistently on top form.