Ducati’s satellite team, Pramac Racing, has produced some incredible talent in past years. Alex Barros, Andrea Iannone, Danilo Petrucci and the new Factory Ducati riders, Jack Miller and Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia. The Pramac team will be entering into their 20th year in the Moto GP and have unveiled a livery that is reminiscent of its very first\ The iconic red, white and blue colour scheme giving the new bike an almost vintage feel. But although the bike may look vintage, the team themselves are to be looking to the future.
With Miller and Bagnaia graduating to the factory team, Pramac Ducati found themselves
hunting for not one, but two riders, and they may just have uncovered two diamonds in the rough. Johann Zarco will be the team’s number one rider and in my opinion, it’s about damn time that Zarco got a decent ride. The double Moto2 world champion has had a run of really terrible luck during his time in the Moto GP. In his Rookie year, he shocked many people on the Tech 3 Yamaha, taking multiple podiums and pole positions ending up 6th in championship. However, things quickly went downhill for Zarco when Tech3 became a KTM outfit.
Zarco was placed in the factory KTM team and it was clear, almost immediately, that the bike
did not work with his riding style. Whilst he did manage to achieve the team’s first front-row
qualifying, this was due to poor weather, which does not reflect many riders’ true one-lap
abilities. He was abruptly removed from his KTM seat halfway through the 2019 season. His inability to ride the RC16 bike meant that he chose not to honour his contract into the 2020 season. This was utterly ruthless by the Austrian team, and it left Zarco scrambling for a ride in 2020. He was lucky to pick up the Esponsorama Racing contract that saw him take on a Ducati Desmosedici last year. He was given a one-year-old bike and no extra support from the Ducati factory. The man has never been given the equipment to really show his true star power.
Zarco needs a stellar 2021
Riding a Desmosedici GP20, the latest bike spec allowed due to the Coronavirus machinery development freeze. In a team that is closely linked with its factory compatriots. Could Zarco be a genuine podium threat throughout 2021? Taking into account the beautifully precise racing that he managed on outdated machinery in last year’s Brno GP, you’ve got to think he’s got a good chance.
This year, Pramac will play host to a Rookie – Jorge Martin – who has moved up from Moto2 after 2 years in the category. The 2018 Moto3 World Champion has shown incredible talent throughout his Grand Prix career. After dominating Moto 3 in 2018 he took some exceptional victories in Moto2. Many tipped Martin to be the Rookie of the Year in Moto GP, including his fellow Rookie’s, Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini. If Martin can adjust to the big bike as quickly as he has adapted to the other bikes in his career, I’m tempted to stick a tenner on him myself!
As Pramac Ducati simultaneously honour their past while looking to the future this season, it
will be interesting to see how their two riders fare. Not least because they are at very different stages in their careers, and balancing that could be a struggle depending on which rider displays more talent. In Qatar, we will see what Zarco and Martin can do, pre-season testing is just around the corner.
This article was written by the fantastic Rebekah Lee, our resident Motorsport nut and MA Creative writing graduate. She’s been fascinated by all things motorsports since childhood – follow her on Twitter at @bekahjlee
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