Ducati or the art of improving the unbeatable

It seems incredible, but the unbeatable can sometimes also be improved. That art is mastered at the moment in MotoGP like no other Ducati. If the Desmosedici was good with which Francesco Bagnaia won the title in 2022, the first for the Borgo Panigale factory since he won it with Casey Stoner in 2007, even better is the 2023 version with which he smashed the Portimao record, with which he left the first of his rivals, another Ducati, Zarco’s, three tenths behind, also being the only one who dropped to 1:37. But that is not the only reading that he leaves the preseason before the start of the new course on the weekend of March 24-26. There are more, and for AS they are the following:

Ducati scares

No factory has as many bikes as Ducati on the grid, up to eight, and all of them, without exception, have been seen in the top positions. It doesn’t matter if it was with the Desmosedici 23, like the one from Bagnaia, which led the Portimao test with an iron hand, or with last year’s version, with which Marini commanded the tests in Malaysia and Valencia. Be that as it may, always a Ducati in front. This year’s bike, unlike the previous one, starts with an extraordinary base, that of 2022, and has been improved by adapting it to the riding of Bagnaia, its leader and the one who wears the #1 champion’s number on his number thanks to the title won last year.

The Ducati is the bike that runs the fastest, the one that accelerates the most, the one that pulls the most, the one that brakes the best and that everyone copies in terms of aerodynamics. To put a but, it only calls into question the cornering, which is something that is not bad either. It is normal for the Ducati squad to show up at the start of the World Cup as the bikes to beat and, like any self-respecting squad, it has a leader in Bagnaia who must be taken very seriously because he already knows what it is to win the title.

Honda leaves many doubts

By not focusing everything on Marc Márquez, who is the great asset of Honda and also of Spanish motorcycling, it serves to reflect the feelings left by the weak preseason of the golden wing a reflection left in Portimao by the newcomer Joan Mir: “There has been no revolution.” The RC213V with which they finished the preseason on Sunday is practically the same with which they started it last November in Valencia. It was then that Márquez was seen more angry than ever with his factory and when he said that it was not that they were one step behind the competition but that they were two or three.

The advantage for Honda is that the points are not distributed in the pre-season tests, that it is true that they have done a lot of tests, that their riders say they are clear about the path to follow and that Marc always performs better in the GGPP than in the test. Mir’s thirteenth and Márquez’s fourteenth, separated between them by only 16 thousandths and eight tenths of a head, is worrying to say the least, but the season is long and they should go further. Márquez has fulfilled his part of the duties by putting himself to the fullest physically and leaving behind the problems in his right arm. Honda, on the other hand, has not fulfilled his part, and he knows it.

Aprilia is the alternative

The sensations on Aprilia are much better than one might think with tenth place occupied by Aleix Espargaró on the last day of the Portimao test. The bike and the rider are doing much better than that result says, because the Catalan’s right forearm conditioned him excessively. As for Maverick, technical problems caused him to lose more time than desired, but it has been common to appear in the top places at various times during the preseason with the RS-GP23, an improved version of the previous year’s bike with which they already won races, in Argentina, specifically, incorporating a new aerodynamic package, at the front and at the rear.

And the same can be said of the satellites Miguel Oliveira and Raúl Fernández, much more optimistic than in their recent days with the KTM. Aprilia has made a great effort to have a satellite team, and they will take care of it.

Yamaha is in the hands of Quartararo

Yamaha has put the batteries to introduce more top speed into the engine of its M1 and that served for their bikes to run around five kilometers per hour more on the Sepang straight. However, with new rubber, it was impossible for their drivers to be fast, which is a completely abnormal condition. Well then, In Portimao, once again, Fabio Quartararo took the chestnuts out of the fire at his factory, because Franco Morbidelli is neither here nor expected at the moment. The 2021 champion managed, based on the breed that characterizes him, to achieve the third best time, only surpassed by Pecc,o and Zarco. By the way, like all factories, Yamaha has made an effort to take advantage of aerodynamics and that led them to try a rear wing more typical of F1 than MotoGP. Whether they use it in GP remains to be seen, but impact has already impacted.

More was expected from KTM

Before the end of the 2022 season, in Valencia, a KTM worker told AS regarding the 2023 prototype that they were going to debut at Ricardo Tormo in the November test, “now yes, now they have brought a good motorcycle ”. That, and having Dani Pedrosa still as a test driver, without a doubt the best of all the test drivers, by record, but above all by analytical and development skills, generated expectations for the preseason that have not been met. Brad Binder’s ninth-place finish at Portimao saved the Austrian factory some furniture, but his new acquisition, Jack Miller, is a far cry from the positions he used to occupy with Ducati.

And as for the GasGas riders, who also wear the RC16, neither Pol Espargaró nor Augusto Fernández have frequently appeared in the leading positions, something that is in no way required of the latter due to their rookie status. It can be said that KTM is almost as bad as Honda right now, but the historical power of the European brand is not like that of the Japanese, at least when it comes to MotoGP. In the world off road It’s another story, but the MotoGP race on asphalt and, except for a huge surprise, this year they are not expected to be among the best either.

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