Since the introduction of the MotoGP class to replace the 500cc class in the World Championship in 2002, no rider from a satellite team has ever won the championship title. In the same year, the crown went to Valentino Rossi, in his first season with the Repsol Honda factory team, after being the last 500cc champion with an independent team, Nastro Azzurro Honda, in 2001.
Since then, the titles have always been shared by the riders of the factory teams, a trend that Prima Pramac Racing Ducati, with Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco, hopes to break this season, trying to challenge the factory teams until the end.
During a conversation on the Motorsport.com podcast with Gino Borsoi, who makes his debut as team manager of the Italian team this year, the former driver underlined that, this year, the structure he manages has “all the ingredients” to change this trend.
“In reality, Pramac is a ‘disguised’ satellite team, it’s an official structure: the riders are Ducati riders, the bikes are the same as those used by the factory team, part of the human structure belongs to Ducati, so we can consider it an official structure in all the senses,” Borsoi explained.
“As regards the question of whether a satellite team can win the World Championship, I believe that Dorna, in recent years, and we have to thank them, has worked a lot in this direction and we are seeing the first signs that a satellite team can, today, at least start thinking that winning the World Championship is possible. It can be feasible, which a few years ago I would have said no, impossible. Today the possibility is quite high, the difference between the teams and the bikes is minimal and this is what it allows any team to think they can win the championship.”
Johann Zarco, Jorge Martin, Gino Borsoi team manager, Pramac Racing
Photo by: Pramac Racing
An argument supported by the philosophy of the Italian manufacturer itself, which for some years, and in particular since 2022 with the increase to eight of its bikes on the grid, has been committed to offering support and the best material to practically all the riders who they run with the brand.
“The results are proving it, VR46 leads the team classification, Pramac is second, we are in the Ducati era, fortunately we have entered a period in which the brand is giving us the possibility to fight for victories. A situation which, according to well see, it wasn’t like this before: there were many difficulties, especially for the brand’s satellite teams, who couldn’t even think of fifth place.Now Ducati is the queen of the category, maybe Honda will be back tomorrow or, mind you, it’s the moment of KTM, which is here to stay”, warns Borsoi.
In any case, the chances of one of the Pramac riders winning the championship will depend on a close fight with another Ducati rider, even from the factory team. A situation that could lead to last year’s famous team orders.
For Borsoi there is no such dilemma and, even within the context of an order, he ensures that his team has their hands free to fight for the championship.
“When I spoke to Paolo Ciabatti, Davide Tardozzi and, above all, Gigi Dall’Igna, I have always been very clear. Obviously they are the official team, we are the ‘official satellite’, or whatever you want to call it, but I like to think that we are at the same level, in terms of material and, above all, the speed of the riders,” he says, before adding: “I would like to make things difficult for them until the end of the year and I told them very clearly. I won’t be there just to help the factory team, I’ll try if I can, I’m very sorry.”
For the former driver from Treviso there are all the conditions to change a historic trend.
“I think Pramac has an incredible opportunity this year. It’s very difficult for an independent team to have all the ingredients together at the same time to fight for something big: riders, bike, team. It doesn’t happen many times, now the difficulty is put everything together and come out with the best possible result. That’s the most complicated thing, that all the ingredients work during the season and in the end the result is the best possible. Of course Ducati won’t make things easy for us and with the return of Enea Bastianini will be even stronger, but the possibility exists and until the end I will not stop thinking that it is not possible to reach it”, concluded Borsoi.