Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia has won his maiden MotoGP world championship title as Ducati ends its 15-year drought of dominating both the riders and constructors championship in the spectacular finale in Valencia.
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Ducati’s Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia marked his career-first MotoGP world title at the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix on Sunday. The Italian rider further ended the drought of the Italian team whose last victory in both riders and constructors championships was in 2007.
Ducati emerged as the constructors champion in both 2021 and 2020 but the riders’ standings were ultimately won by Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir respectively. In 2007, Ducati’s Casey Stoner clinched his first title alongside the team’s world title. Thanks to Pecco’s ninth-place finish in the Valencia Grand Prix, the Ducati Lenovo Team secured a historic comeback in the championship, which no other rider has ever achieved before in the premier class.
After finding himself sixth in the standings at the end of the German GP, Pecco managed to close a gap of 91 points on reigning champion Fabio Quartararo over eight Grands Prix and took the lead in the Championship with 14 points over the Frenchman in the Australian GP, at Phillip Island, with two races to go.
By increasing his lead to 23 thanks to a stunning victory at Sepang in Malaysia, Pecco needed only a ninth place today to secure Ducati’s second Riders’ World Title in the premier class.
For the 25-year-old from Turin and the Bologna-based manufacturer, this is a historic achievement with seven wins, ten podiums and five pole positions this year. Not to mention, Pecco becomes the first Italian rider to win the MotoGP World Championship on an Italian bike, the Ducati Desmosedici GP. The last person to do so in the top class was Giacomo Agostini 50 years ago, in 1972, when he won the title in the 500cc category with the MV Agusta.
“We have to be really happy and proud of the incredible work we did. After Germany, we found ourselves 91 points off the top, but we found the right motivation to come back and win the title in Valencia. Together we showed that we are really strong and can handle even complicated situations,” Pecco says.
“Today’s race was also really difficult because, after the contact with Fabio, I lost a wing of my bike. From there on, I struggled a lot, but I am really proud and happy with the result. I also want to congratulate Fabio, who has been an incredible opponent throughout the season. To win coming in front of a rider you respect, as I respect Fabio, gives even more value to this title.”
The Valencia GP was also Jack Miller’s last race with Ducati.
Starting with the third fastest time, the Australian rider had managed to stay in the top positions fighting for the podium. However, with four laps to go, he crashed out while he was third. Miller ends the season in fifth place in the Championship thanks to one win and seven podiums, besides a pole position.
“This is a fantastic day for all of Ducati! Ducati Corse has worked steadfastly and resolutely to achieve this second MotoGP Riders’ Title that makes our hearts burst with joy today. Racing is so tied to the passion of Ducatisti, and my path in Ducati is also so tied to racing that I am really extremely happy today. First of all, I want to congratulate Pecco, who had an incredible season in which he had the great merit of always believing, even when the comeback seemed impossible,” Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding, adds.
“Thanks to the “three musketeers” Gigi, Paolo, Davide and all the women and men of Ducati Corse and Ducati Lenovo Team, who worked on this incredible bike and also to the employees who work in Borgo Panigale and make emotions like these possible.”
“The World Title is for them and for all Ducatisti. It has been a long chase, but today the team is as strong as it has ever been, and this result is extremely important to take the pressure off and be more focused than ever to do well in the future. I really believe it can be the opening of a very positive path for Ducati.”