Not all of Valentino Rossi’s team, assembled by Jeremy Burgess in 2000, was disbanded in 2021. Matteo Flamini moved to work in the VR46 Racing Team – the team is led by Marco Bezzecchi.
Matteo sees a number of changes that have taken place at Yamaha and Ducati and tells what position the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP factory team is actually in 2022.
Flamigny joined the Rossi team in 2000, from the very first day. He became the GP500 champion with Rossi in 2001, took the first victory in 2002, and defended the title with Honda in 2003, then, together with the whole team, migrated to Yamaha Factory Racing, where together with Valentino they took 4 more titles in the Royal Class. Then there was a transition to Ducati Factory and back to Yamaha Racing.
His comments also describe the situation in general well: why, for example, Valentino Rossi himself decided to go under the roof of Ducati together with the VR46 Racing Team. Also, it will become clearer to you why Fabio Quarararo’s situation is really difficult today…
1. Why did Marco Bezzecchi and other young Ducati drivers reach the podium so quickly in Motogp Nikki Hayden moment
Ducati Desmosedici GP21 allows young, novice pilots of the Royal Class to reach their potential faster, thanks to a significant reserve of power and speed.
Consequence: When a young pilot is sufficiently experienced and physically prepared after Moto2, when he is talented, it is easier for him to implement his achievements in a new class. Because he doesn’t have to jump over his head for this, like the pilots of Yamaha, Honda, and KTM.
Matteo Flamigni: “Marco’s ascent to the podium is a clear consequence. But Assen is not yet a 100% indicator that he has already made a breakthrough. We must not forget that there was an accident in Assen between Quartararo and Espargaro, so Marco probably should have finished 4th – that’s how we saw this race before the incident. It would be an incredible result for a beginner! But that was the plan. And this would be a confirmation for us of the correctness of the plan for the development of the Bezzecca for the season. But he got on the podium, and that made us even happier.”
“Marko rode like a veteran”: “He kept an excellent pace from start to finish, his lag behind Pekko was insignificant throughout the race. Their motorcycles are very close technically, so we conclude that this is Marco’s achievement, not Ducati’s. But Ducati in this regard is great fellows precisely in that they gave all pilots equal technical conditions. That’s the effect!”
2. What is Ducati’s strongest side in MotoGP today
Key point: Flamigni believes that Luigi Dahl’s strategy, in the end, is the right one – suitable for the modern version of MotoGP. Internal competition and a standard motorcycle (plus or minus the same for all eight riders) – that’s what move the whole project forward.
Matteo Flamigni: “We have to pay tribute to Ducati – they have a motorcycle that allows every rider to behave at the limit of their capabilities today. And these limits are a little further than the rivals. I like it because it gives young people motivation to develop: they see that they can achieve more on the same motorcycle as their factory colleagues. Or they may be ahead, as Bastianini regularly did!”
“I remember well when there was a similar moment at Yamaha: Vale and Jorge [Lorenzo] competed for the No. 1 status in the factory team, and this really moved them both forward – they were head and shoulders above the others, constantly fighting for track records – just to get ahead of each other. Now the same thing is happening between Ducati pilots. The general strategy of the Distance’Inyi works great. And these are not all the advantages that Ducati Corse has received, thanks to internal competition.”
Technically speaking, Ducati Desmosedici provides a very flexible delivery of torque to the rear, which is easy for the engineer and the pilot of the team to work with. This is both the possibility of good tire management and a clear adjustment of control systems.
3. The fact that Quartararo is ahead is a credit to his composure and his team
The key point: the mistakes made by Ducati Corse at the very beginning of the year in the organization of the racing process led to a significant loss of points by the factory leaders. If Bagnaya, Miller, Zarco, and Martin had not fallen and earned points, they would now be higher in the ranking than Quartararo.
Matteo Flamigni: “From the point of view of the championship, Quartararo is now single-handedly pulling the entire Yamaha project. It’s hard for me to talk about Yamaha because I don’t work with this bike anymore, but I know it well enough. Quartararo is indeed a key figure in this scheme. There was a situation in the style of Honda-Marquez when the whole project works for one person who really learned how to use this bike correctly, while the rest are experiencing a lot of difficulties. In general, Fabio’s position in the championship is his personal achievement, as well as his team, which works with him on strategy at every stage.”
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“But if we exclude from the calculations the falls and the zero results of Pekko, he is very close to Fabio. As a technician, I see [in today’s Ducati] a much greater potential for dominance in racing and further development. Pekko, when he wants, can lead the race from start to finish. He needs such motivation, and now he has it again. A big plus, again, as a technician, I see the presence of 8 motorcycles on the grid – this greatly simplifies the development program and allows teams to exchange dates and settings so that the entire guard could be at the head of the grid at the right moment. This is a great strategic advantage.”
4. Is a Ducati rematch possible in the second half of the 2022 season?
Matteo Flamigni: “I would say yes! Let’s not forget that Pekko almost always won races when he reached the finish line. If he copes with the control problem and starts finishing in every race, I am sure he will be able to catch up with Aleix and Fabio. There are at least 6 tracks ahead where he can win the Grand Prix, and the Red Bull Ring is one of those… well, in the old configuration. Let’s see what we learn about the new chicane on Friday!”