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Ducati Lenovo Team boss Davide Tardozzi has admitted the Bologna factory could field eight bikes on the 2022 grid, as negotiations with VR46 Racing and Gresini continue. However, whilst speaking to Italian newspaper La Gazetta Dello Sport, Tardozzi said, of those eight Desmosedicis, a maximum of five would be full-factory machines.
The Italian also spoke at length about the relationship between Jack Miller and Fransesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), and the importance that relationship has on the mood within the team. "The true relationship of respect that exists between the riders will be a real advantage for us," said the team boss, following two victories and three podiums from the opening five rounds of the MotoGP™ World Championship that sees both Miller and Bagnaia in serious contention for the 2021 crown.
Tardozzi's comments on the current 2022 negotiations were most interesting, however. Reports have suggested that VR46 has signed an agreement with Ducati for next year and beyond. But Tardozzi refuted such rumours, instead suggesting talks are continuing with both VR46 and Gresini over a satellite team and refused the rule out the possibilty of a deal being reached with both outfits.
"Ducati can afford to manage eight bikes because it has done that in the past," started Tardozzi. "Until three years ago we also had the Aspar Team. It's possible, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen. It's absurd to think about 8 factory bikes because it doesn't make sense. This year, for various reasons, we gave a factory bike to Jorge Martin who is in his first year, but a rookie doesn't need a factory machine, you need a factory bike to find that last tenth. You have to have the experience first. In my opinion, four is the right number, then Ducati could also afford to make one more.
"VR46 with Ducati? It is not true that only the signature is missing, there are many details that need to be fine-tuned. And there are other factories that are doing their evaluations and offers. To date, nothing has been signed and there are ongoing discussions with VR46 and Gresini."
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Meanwhile, when asked about the relationship between Miller and Bagnaia, and the subsequent benefits that brings, the Italian said: "I am pleased with the relationship between them, which is positive for the team and also beneficial for them. When Jack returned to the garage on Sunday, after the first two minutes of partying with his team, as soon as he saw Pecco he went to hug him. The true relationship of respect that exists between the riders will be a real advantage for us.
"When we said last year that we had this project in mind, we were slaughtered to a certain extent. It was also very difficult for us, leaving two riders who were with us Andrea for eight years and Danilo for six. It was also a very difficult choice from a personal point of view."
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