Why Ducati’s Enea Bastianini Needed That P3 Win at the 2024 MotoGP Americas

Returning to COTA after missing the majority of last year's 2023 season due to a severe shoulder injury.

121

This year’s 2024 Red Bull MotoGP Americas Grand Prix was an essential race for Ducati driver Enea Bastianini, who has faced a considerable amount of pressure following last year’s severe shoulder injury at the opening sprint race at Portimao – through no fault of his own – that prematurely ended his 2023 season, and caused him to miss last year’s Grand Prix. 

For “The Beast,” COTA was crucial in taking a pole position, especially having just secured pole position and second place during the Portuguese MotoGP. For Sunday’s America GP, Bastianini had other plans as he kicked off the race weekend taking fifth place during Saturday’s Sprint. 

Source: Enea Bastianini / @bestia23

“I’m thrilled to return to America, where I missed racing last year due to the shoulder injury. COTA is a track I deeply enjoy, and it holds fond memories of 2022, when I clinched my second MotoGP win – my favorite of that year,” he told reporters. 

He also told TNT Sports’ Michael Laverty that he is still settling in with Ducati and rebuilding his career after his promotion from Gresini as a four-time race winner. 

Source: X / TNT Sports

In what proved to be a fairly challenging race for the Italian rider, taking P3 was definitely a confidence booster as he overtook Pramac’s Jorge Martin just in time that keeps this 2024 season spark going and very different from his 2023 season performance.

Source: X / @motogp

He was confident that during Sunday’s race, the front tire “wasn’t the big problem,” emphasizing that Ducati has an entirely new tire for the 2024 season. 

I think we can be happy today because after this weekend, I suffered a lot and it’s wonderful to be here. Well, the start was incredible, but then I lost a few positions. But nothing special, in the middle of the race I tried to take another rhythm and I reduced the gap with the group again. I am very happy with this podium,” Bastianini told MotoGP.com ahead of Sunday’s post-race press conference.

“We’re half happy…It was a difficult race and I couldn’t get my bike stopped the way I wanted,” he stated after Sunday’s Grand Prix.  He also noted that throughout the race, Martin was “really difficult to overtake. 

During Sunday’s press conference following his P3 win, Bastianini was asked by a reporter if he felt “disrespected” by the Ducati team after last year’s injury, in that he wasn’t able to “show his full potential,” to which Bastianini described the entire phenomenon as “very strange.”

For me, last year has been very, very strange, because my feeling with the bike was strange and also I crashed in the first race,” Bastianini replied. “After my injury, my adaptation to the bike was so complicated. And also [the bike] was new, because my crew chief was new and the team was new. You have to have a balance; if you know this, you can do something more,” he continued.

As for where things stand now, there is most definitely a comeback for both Bastianini and Ducati. “We have a solid basis now and I think for the future we can fight always for our position,” he emphasized. 

Click here for more of our MotoGP coverage.