No team orders for Ducati riders
By Iwan Jones
Tuesday 19th July, 2022 - 9:58am
Ducati has vowed not to enforce team orders on its riders, in an attempt to salvage its MotoGP championship tilt.
At the summer break, Prima Pramac Racing’s Johann Zarco is the highest-placed Ducati rider on 114 points, 58 points behind championship leader Fabio Quartararo on 172 points.
The Italian marque’s leading factory rider, Francesco Bagnaia, is fourth in the standings on 106 points, 66 points adrift of Quartararo.
Bagnaia has landed in hot water recently, with the Italian failing a breath test following a car crash while on holiday in Spain.
His factory team-mate, Australian Jack Miller is seventh on 91 points, with the Ducati Lenovo team third in the standings on 197 points.
At a recent press conference, Ducati’s sporting director, Paolo Ciabatti voiced the organisation’s dislike of orders.
“At this moment there are still many races to go, but it seems that we are a little far from the possibility of fighting for the title,” Ciabatti said.
“On principle, with few exceptions in the past, we don’t like team orders.
“It’s obvious that if it’s the last race, one rider doesn’t have a chance to win and another does, we can think about the strategy.
“But this is an exceptional case and we are not in that situation.”
While there are no official orders in place, Ciabatti said instructions are used when necessary.
“We will not give team orders, the only indication we give our riders is to avoid overtaking each other too much,” Ciabatti said.
“The only thing we say to our riders is to respect the riders of the same brand, not trying any extreme manoeuvres if they can.
“But for the rest, they are free to do what they want, and if they can win a race, they must win the race.”
During the press conference, Ciabatti cited the infamous incident where former Ducati rider Andrea Iannone lost control and crashed into team-mate Andrea Dovizioso on the final lap of the 2016 Argentine Grand Prix, when the duo were about to finish on the podium.
He said he would prefer for such incidents to remain in the history books.
“We still remember the experience of [Andrea] Dovizioso and [Andrea] Iannone in Argentina a few years ago and we would like to avoid a similar situation.”
The 2022 MotoGP World Championship resumes after the summer break at the British Grand Prix, at Silverstone, from August 5-7.