Where do you stand, on the stick or the twist? Bagnaia faces a true Champion’s dilemma
Ducati and Francesco Bagnaia have undoubtedly had a hectic few days. Pecco became the first Italian rider to win the Riders’ Championship since Valentino Rossi in 2009. This was the first Riders’ Championship for the Borgo Panigale factory in 15 years.
Following in the footsteps of Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) and Fabio Quartararo, he is the third rider in a row to win the Championship for the first time. In 2019, all three riders moved up to the premier class, and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) won their first championships. Marquez has won the last four championships in a succession and six of the last seven.
As 2023 approaches, Bagnaia faces a decision that will affect her and all the other Champions. Is he going to switch to the #1 plates in 2023, or will he keep the #63 on the front of his Ducati?
Over the last decade, the numbers 99, 93, 36, and 20 have all been worn by the current champion, indicating that riders seem to like to keep the same number. There was a time when riders routinely switched to the #1 plate—think Kevin Schwantz, Mick Doohan, Wayne Rainey, Alex Criville, and Kenny Roberts JR—but this is no longer the case.
Even in the MotoGP era, it has only happened four times. It was originally worn by the late, great Nicky Hayden in 2007, then by Casey Stoner on the Ducati in 2008, and finally by Jorge Lorenzo in 2011, the year he won his first premier class championship. That design was last seen in 2012, emblazoned on the front of Stoner’s Honda.
Bagnaia has followed in the footsteps of the Australian by bringing success to Ducati. In 2023, will he follow in the footsteps of the MotoGP Legend by painting the number one on the front of his Desmosedici?
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