Enea Bastianini, like Jack Miller, who won the Japanese Grand Prix literally by one gate, went to the start in Motegi without having any special instructions from Ducati on how to act in one case or another if the leader of the factory project in MotoGP Bagnaia finds himself in a difficult situation.
Bastianini started from behind Bagnaia, who in turn started the JapaneseGP race from behind Quartararo and Alyosha Espargaro. It would be logical to assume that Ducati had a plan for this case – how to minimize losses. But everything went wrong right after the start… when Jack Miller took the lead in the race. Miller clearly had no prescriptions, he was given the green light to win – and he won, dominating Brad Binder and Jorge Martin. But his victory in reality meant nothing, neither for Ducati nor for Bagnaia. The Borgo Panigale Manufacturers’ Cup was taken from Yamaha and Aprilia in Aragon, and the results of Bagnaia, whatever they were, Miller’s victory was not reflected.
But Bastianini could influence the course of the fight with Quartararo. For many, his passivity in Motegi seemed suspicious. Was there a command order – “do not disturb Pecco” or was the race really so hard that Enea did not even dare to attack?
Enea Bastianini was one of the few who decided to put the softest tire back at the last moment at the start. Maybe it played a role or…?
“In fact, I am pleased that we chose Soft: it allowed us to immediately take the right pace and get involved in the fight. But it did not allow us to overtake rivals, for some reason we did not get an advantage in turns. I tried to attack Pecco, but he returned the position easily enough. I know one moment where I made a mistake myself, and when Pecco returned the position. But after that, I didn’t see any recommendations from my garage, no instructions, no requests. If [Ducati] had a plan, they forgot to tell me about it before the start. But I haven’t received any messages from the pit lane. The only thing, as I said, for some reason it was harder for me to attack than usual. The tire ran out on time, as we expected, so everything went more or less according to the scenario planned by the team. I passed Pol Espargaro, then Pecco, and I caught up with Fabio. And on the last lap, what happened,” admitted the Gresini Racing driver.
On the last lap of the Japanese Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaya slipped at the entrance to the turn and flew out, almost taking Fabio Quartararo with him.
Later, Quarararo admitted that he had run out of rubber by that time a long time ago, and he would not have withstood the attacks of Bagnaia and Bastianini. But Bagnaia withdrew himself, and Bastianini did not dare to attack Yamaha.