The Beast bit back at Bagnaia’s comments earlier in the weekend that he’d prefer to have Jack Miller as his 2023 Ducati teammate
Gresini Racing’s Enea Bastianini believes Francesco Bagnaia doesn’t want him as his 2023 teammate in the Ducati Lenovo squad because he can “be a problem for him”. The Beast is now the firm favourite to take the factory Ducati seat next season thanks to his third win of the year last time out in Le Mans, but the Italian suggested Bagnaia’s desire to have Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) alongside him for a fifth straight season is due to the Gresini man’s “potential”.
One of the key stories of 2022 has been the battle for the final place in the Ducati Lenovo Team. Both Bastiaini and Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin have been fighting it out with current incumbent Miller for the seat. Whilst Martin has faltered and Miller appears to be squeezed out of the fold, Bastianini has romped to three superb victories to make him the stand-out rider in the factory fight.
However, the 24-year-old has his concerns over whether Bagnaia would be too happy seeing him in red next season: “I’m not the Ducati boss but I think my situation is better than the other Ducati riders. Pecco yesterday said he’d prefer to stay with Jack. And I think his decision, I don’t know if Ducati wants to listen to him. But, also in the case of staying at Gresini or other [teams], with a factory package I can be fast.
“I think he prefers Miller because he is the leader of Ducati and he knows the potential of me, and also I think of Martin. It can be a problem for him.”
Bagnaia hit back at Bastianini’s comments later on Sunday by saying Miller is his preference purely because of their friendship, not because he fears either Bastianini or Martin. The pair have been teammates ever since the Moto2™ World Champion stepped up to the premier class back in 2019, and he’d like to see that relationship extended further.
“He’s my team-mate from 2019 and I know him very well,” started Bagnaia. “It’s normal that if you had to choose a mate to share the box with, it’s the man you have more conversations with, spend more time with.
“Jack is my first choice because he’s a friend, he’s a good teammate. I like to work with him. But it’s something that the team has to choose. If it will be Enea, if it will be Martin for me it will be the same story. I’ve always had a good relationship with all my teammates. Enea deserves the place, I think.”