Ducati rejects GP22 bike upgrade for breakout MotoGP star Enea Bastianini 

Enea Bastianini moves ahead of Jorge Martin in the fight for Rookie of the Year but it won't earn him a factory-spec Ducati for the 2022 MotoGP season

Enea Bastianini

Enea Bastianini has confirmed he will still be required to make do with year-old machinery during the 2022 MotoGP World Championship despite another stunning podium-winning performance in the Emilia Romagna MotoGP at Misano.

A month on from shocking the paddock with a charge to third position from 12th on the grid in the San Marino MotoGP, a result achieved on pure pace alone with laps that would have seen him able to challenge Pecco Bagnaia for victory, Bastianini did it again, but this time from 16th.

It continues a brilliant run of form for the rookie having now finished top six in each of the last four races from modest grid positions, while he is doing it aboard a two-year old Ducati GP19 prepared by the privateer Avintia Racing squad, which exits the series at the end of the season.

Though not a trouble-free weekend for Bastianini after three crashes on Saturday left him 16th on the grid, the result was made all the more notable by the fact his last lap overtake on Fabio Quartararo meant Ducati, which saw three of its four factory-backed bikes crash out, out-scored Yamaha in their Manufacturers’ title battle.

It has renewed calls for Bastianini, who switches to Gresini Racing next season - the Italian team splitting from Aprilia to become a Ducati customer - to be given a shot at riding a Ducati GP22 in line with Pramac Racing.

However, though Ducati has previously said it does have the capacity to build more on-spec bikes, it was referring to the possibility of supplying the better funded VR46 Racing, rather than Gresini, with Bastianini confirming it will still be a GP21 under him for 2022.

“Next year I will have the Ducati bike of 2021 with the best possible material,” he told GPOne. “During the week I spoke with Ducati and Gigi Dall’Igna, who confirmed to me that it will be impossible to have the GP22. We will therefore have to work hard to be competitive and try to get the best result.”

Enea Bastianini makes a case for MotoGP Rider of the Year

The surge of Bastianini’s form in recent rounds has been a surprising delight during this second-half of the season, one that is made all the more impressive by him doing it against the odds.

Despite being the Moto2 World Champion - a feat he achieved in only his second season against better fancied rivals - Bastianini spent the first half of the year out-performing but being overshadowed in terms of publicity by team-mate and Valentino Rossi’s brother Luca Marini.

He is also unusual in that he has done this without the guidance of Rossi’s mighty VR46 Academy, which has big budget monopoly on nurturing Italian talent right now.

However, a few missteps in qualifying aside, Bastianini has been the superior racer and his confidence on the trusty but now very dated Ducati GP19 has soared recently.

Indeed, he has found an interesting groove on the bike that allows him preserve his tyres almost magically well, meaning Bastianini has often found himself picking off multiple rivals in the closing laps. 

Misano II was no exception, Bastianini starting and running even further behind Fabio Quartararo, but still finishing on the podium ahead of the Frenchman. His performance is made all the more eye-catching by the fact the race was shaping up to be the redemption of Marini - a rider whose first season of MotoGP has been anonymous at best - when the Italian qualified third in the wet.

Instead, he went backwards to ninth, the result sharpened by Bastianini charging in the other direction to collect a second podium of the year for an Avintia Racing team that would have been forgiven for easing the momentum before it leaves the series.

The run of form has seen Bastianini rise to just five points shy of the overall top ten, a remarkable achievement for a rookie, much less one on a two-year old bike with by far the lowest funded privateer team on the grid. 

Ironically he is also now ahead of Jorge Martin - who secured a factory Ducati deal despite finishing behind Bastianini in Moto2 - in the Rookie of the Year battle. Though Martin has certainly impressed with a win in Austria and did spend time out through injury, you have to wonder whether Bastianini on the same bike would have won both of those Misano races…