Ducati is the true red

Pecco Bagnaia, during the San Marino GP. / Filippo Monteforte (Afp)


The Italian double in Misano, added to the authoritarian dominance of the transalpine brand in MotoGP, excites the tifosi, who are in need of new idols in the motor world

The transalpine sports press got up early on Monday after the MotoGP and Formula 1 races with conflicting feelings. While the iconic Ferrari is ever further away from winning a title that has eluded them since 2007 and makes blood from the embarrassing mistakes in the pit lane with Carlos Sainz, it proudly displays the Ducati flag, which has become the hegemonic brand in the queen category of motorcycling, in which it sweeps with Italian talent. So much so that 'Tuttosport', one of the leading sports newspapers in that country, opened its front page on Monday with the headline 'Il rosso vero' (the true red) and a photo of Pecco Bagnaia.

The Italian won his
fourth consecutive race in Misano and already has six victories in the last nine grand prix. He is in the numbers of the great legends of the championship. In fact, he is the first Ducati rider to achieve this poker of victories, something that only three names had previously achieved in the MotoGP category: Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. Nobody else. Ducati is also in historical records. He leads Yamaha by 110 points in the constructors' standings and, with 150 points at stake (six races remaining in 2022), he could clinch this championship at the upcoming Aragon Grand Prix.

But in Italy there is also talk of the new 'BB' duo. Bagnaia-Bastianini. The riders who crossed the finish line separated by only 34 thousandths in the last San Marino Grand Prix and who represent a new era in Italian motorcycling, according to 'Tuttosport', "more beautiful, young, fresh and winning". Pecco Bagnaia (25 years old) and Enea Bastianini (24) will be teammates next year in the official Ducati team and will try to cover the enormous void left in the Italian fans by the withdrawal of Valentino Rossi. The Misano circuit enjoyed a duel that lasted until the checkered flag was waved, but which almost ended in tragedy. And it is that, when almost everyone assumed that they would settle for the 1-2 that had been maintained for half the race, an irreverent Bastianini tried desperately on the last lap and was very close to taking Bagnaia. Luckily nothing happened, but the faces in the Ducati box at that time were a poem.

Bagnaia dyes Misano red

They assure the Italian factory that they have not yet activated the team orders and that any driver of the brand can fight "with a head." But the truth is that there are already important voices within the box that ask to bet everything on Pecco Bagnaia. And it is not a bad bet considering that it is the only one left for Ducati to be champion in 2022. Classification in hand, Bagnaia is already second in the championship after having overtaken Aleix Espargaró. He is 30 points behind Fabio Quartararo, who still has the psychological advantage of more than one race, but has cut 61 points in the last four. So it is normal for the Frenchman to be worried and frustrated by what is coming his way. And the next stop is the Aragon GP, ​​where Pecco Bagnaia won last year.

The end of the golden generation

Misano's appointment was also the farewell of Andrea Dovizioso and with his goodbye, the last representative of one of the best generations of motorcycling in history, if not the best, also leaves. He began to lose himself with the premature retirement of Casey Stoner in 2012 and in recent years he said goodbye to Dani Pedrosa in 2018, Jorge Lorenzo in 2019 and Valentino Rossi in 2021. Dovizioso closes the circle. Without the track record of his rivals (he only won the 125 cc title in 2004), he becomes the second rider with the most races in the history of the World Championship after Rossi. And, above all, with three consecutive MotoGP runner-up finishes (2017, 2018 and 2019), all of them competed against the rider who acted as a retaining wall for that golden generation, a certain Marc Márquez.

At 36 years old, the former MotoGP rider hung up his helmet after crossing the finish line in twelfth position. Always thoughtful and calculating, as he was on the track, he would later tell the media how he had felt traveling his last kilometers as a motorcycling professional. "The only thing he thought was that he didn't want to do anything crazy before finishing the race, so there was no problem in containing the emotions." Pure Dovizioso.

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