The new campaign begins this weekend in Qatar with the first of a record 21 races, with most of the riders having had just five days of pre-season testing this year.
Ducati is expected to be one of the main players in the championship battle in 2022, with Bagnaia coming into the year having finished last year runner-up in the points to Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo. The Italian marque appeared to make a solid start to the year with its 2022 machine in testing, though its riders noted the power delivery of the new engine was a little bit aggressive.
Motorsport.com understands Bagnaia has decided to discard the 2022 engine in favor of an updated 2021-spec unit on the eve of the 2022 Qatar Grand Prix. Ducati wants to modify its 2022 bike to fit the previous year’s engine.
Due to the technical regulations in MotoGP, Bagnaia’s choice means team-mate Jack Miller will also have to run last year’s engine.
Jack Miller, Ducati Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
The engine both riders will now use was tested at the Mandalika test in February, and was brought to Indonesia after the Malaysia test confirmed the 2022-spec engine was not enough of an improvement over its predecessor.
Ducati brought last year’s engine, the updated version and the 2022-spec one to Indonesia. With Ducati operating as a non-concession manufacturer, it is not permitted to develop its engines during the season.
This means the engine that will be homologated for the start of the 2022 season – which begins with FP1 on Friday in Qatar – will be frozen and will remain the same specification throughout the year.
Only the factory duo of Miller and Bagnaia will run the now-hybrid 2021/2022 bike this season, with the factory-backed Pramac squad sticking with the 2022-spec engine. VR46’s Luca Marini also wants to continue with the 2022 engine on his factory bike.
In total Ducati will field eight bikes in 2022 between the factory squad, Pramac, VR46 and Gresini Racing.
Miller, Bagnaia, Jorge Martin, Johann Zarco and Luca Marini will have 2022 bikes, while Gresini’s Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio, and VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi will run 2021 machinery.