Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Why Ducati needs Bagnaia

MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Why Ducati needs Bagnaia

Ducati’s Desmosedici has struggled with turning for years. Now Ducati thinks it’s found the answer to the problem – 2018 Moto2 world champion Pecco Bagnaia

If Ducati doesn’t announce Pecco Bagnaia’s promotion to its factory team at Barcelona this weekend I promise to shin up the Sagrada Família naked.

Ducati needs Bagnaia because he is a huge talent and because MotoGP has changed. You only need to look at Andrea Dovizioso’s recent results to understand there is a new way of going fast in 2020.

MotoGP riding technique is in a constant state of evolution and nothing demands riders to evolve more than a different interface between motorcycle and racetrack.

Michelin’s 2020 rear slick has changed MotoGP. Looking at who’s fastest now suggests that the new rear helps those bikes and riders that can use corner speed: Yamaha’s YZR-M1, Suzuki’s GSX-RR, KTM’s latest RC16 and Ducati’s GP20, with Bagnaia onboard.

The Yamaha and Suzuki have always liked to sweep through corners and now the KTM the can also be ridden that way, according to Pol Espargaró

“Now we have a very good feeling with the front, so we can release the brake a bit earlier, then carry on for more corner speed,” says Espargaró.

The Ducati has never been a corner-speed bike, partly because it’s built to maximise its amazing engine, so it’s a stop-and-go bike, using the V4’s braking stability and horsepower. Honda’s RC213V is the same, except when Marc Márquez is working his corner-speed magic.

Dovizioso won all his races with Ducati between 2016 and 2019 by steering into corners with the rear tyre. That technique no longer works because the softer-carcass 2020 rear is so grippy.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

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