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MotoGP, can Enea Bastianini win the World Championship? Is the dream of a satellite team with moto 2021 just utopia?


Enea Bastianini is the surprising leader of the MotoGP World Championship after the first two races of the season. The 24-year-old from Rimini has sensationally imposed himself in Qatar, then finishing eleventh in the troubled Indonesian stage. Five points, however, are enough to defend the first position in the world championship standings. The success of Lusail, who arrived on a Ducati last year , unquestionably caused a sensation , as did the splendid comeback from the rear staged in Mandalika. The question therefore arises spontaneously. Can La Bestia become 2022 World Champion while competing on a 2021 motorcycle inserted in an unofficial context?

First of all, it must be emphasized that the notion of “private team” has radically changed compared to the past. It is no coincidence that the concept of “satellite team” has been born in recent years. Just look at Pramac to understand the difference. The structure directed by Claudio Calabresi is in effect an extension of the Ducati Factory Team , so much so that it has two bikes identical to those of the internal team. Furthermore, several technicians who work in the affiliated teams are men from the parent company. The current Gresini Team is therefore not to be considered a secondary entity, also because it should not be forgotten that until last year it managed the Noale RS-GPs exclusively, acting as a de facto factory team for Aprilia . Professionalism, ability and know-how of the structure founded by the late Fausto and today led by his wife Nadia are therefore second to none.

In recent times, however, we have seen pilots of satellite teams perform as much, if not more, than officers. A striking example is 2020 , a season during which 8 out of 14 GPs were won by affiliated teams (Yamaha Petronas and Ktm Tech 3). True, in 2021 the internal structures overtook the external ones for 17 wins to 1, but it is now the norm to see “independent” drivers in full tussle with those of the factory teams . In theory, thinking of seeing a satellite team graduate as World Champion is therefore not utopia. After all, Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli both came close to their goal in 2020 . If the former had been more concrete and the latter more fortunate, an unofficial team would have really harpooned the Iris. However, the right conditions and favorable circumstances are needed.

Having established that racing outside the Factory Team is not a big handicap, for Bastianini it should be racing with a 2021 bike , therefore one year old. This dynamic can be an advantage in the initial phase of the season, because the rider from Rimini has a tool that has been tested and already fully developed when so many opponents are riding more advanced but also more immature vehicles. But sooner or later the weapons available to the factory teams will become increasingly sharper and more effective, forcing those with last year’s leftovers into perennial defense.

In short, it is not utopian to think of a satellite team capable of winning the World Cup per se, but it is if we look at Enea’s situation . In the long run, the Ducati GP21 will pay duty compared to the Ducati GP22 and all the other more modern competitors. It would be a fairy tale , but it has no precedent .

The last rider outside the factory team capable of grabbing the Iris was Valentino Rossi back in 2001 , the final season of the two-stroke 500cc. But be careful, because the Doctor had a full-fledged official NSR at his disposal, managed by a structure created ad hoc and managed by Jeremy Burgess, former mechanic of Freddie Spencer, Wayne Gardner and Mick Doohan. In short, the champion of Tavullia was in a context similar to the current Pramac. Indeed, the synergy with HRC was probably even stronger than that between the Tuscan-born team and the Borgo Panigale company.

Nor can we bother with what happened between the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s , when formally “independent” teams won the World Cup in bursts. We are talking about the Agostini Team first and then the Roberts Team , who managed in a “private” way the bikes supplied by Yamaha, often and willingly beating the Hondas and the Suzukis. In reality, the Iwata House contracted out its jewels to these structures, which were, moreover, stuffed with the dollars of a colossal sponsor like Marlboro, without making a direct commitment. They were therefore Factory Teams in masks , a bit like Gresini with Aprilia until 2021.

In summary, seeing Bastianini as the 2022 MotoGP World Champion is just a wonderful fantasy . The Rimini player, on the other hand, plays another, decidedly more concrete game. The goal is to earn a Ducati GP23 for next season. Be it in the official team, in the Pramac team or, why not, always followed by the faithful Alberto Giribuola in Gresini, but with a means similar to that of the future strikers of the Borgo Panigale manufacturer.