Stefan Bradl in the Repsol Honda box – actually HRC test driver, but he will also be a Marquez replacement again in 2021. We had already announced this on March 8th and exactly two weeks later it was officially announced (© MotoGP).

The truth about a supposed genius is sobering

In MotoGP, terms are sometimes used that sound very sensational. For example, Dani Pedrosa is sometimes referred to at Red Bull as the “KTM premium tester”. However, many of his Spanish compatriots see the tiny man more as a tax evader than as a nobleman since he emigrated to Switzerland. Just like Jorge Lorenzo, Dani lost a lot of sympathy in his home country. Apart from that, the question may be asked why Stefan Bradl should be less noble as a Honda test driver. Both have in common that they didn’t win a MotoGP title, but at least it worked in the smaller classes. But it is even worse when you call someone a genius who is not at all.

Dani Pedrosa (KTM) during test drives in Losail – unlike Bradl, the Catalan doesn’t want to contest any more races. Nevertheless, some scribes try to persuade this to happen again and again. A look at the results of his last season is enough to understand his stance (© MotoGP).

Gigi dall’Igna’s previous merits at Aprilia

After Honda had won the first 3 manufacturers’ titles since WorldSBK was launched in 1988, the incredible series came for Ducati. From 1991 to 2009 there were only three years in which the “red devils” did not win the World Cup. Once upon a time in the 1997 season when Honda was successful and John Kocinski took the drivers’ title. Then in 2005 Suzuki with the figurehead Troy Corser and in 2007 the only time so far Yamaha. From then on it only worked once for Ducati in 5 years, while Aprilia won four manufacturers’ world championships during this time. A man from northern Italy, whose services Ducati secured from the end of the 2013 season, was allegedly behind it. Although dall’Igna was already working for Ducati in 2014, the title didn’t work out and Ducati only played second fiddle. As is well known, this has remained the case in WorldSBK to this day.

Marco Melandri in front of Silvain Guintoli (both Aprilia RSV4) – the fourth driver’s title went to Guintoli and his Italian team-mate and adversary contributed to the manufacturers’ championship. For more about the earlier years of the WSBK, see our richly illustrated history (© WorldSBK).

The MotoGP – the upswing was largely absent
The Italian had studied mechanical engineering in Padua and had been with the Aprilia racing team since 1992 before moving to Ducati 11 years later. At the end of 2013, the northern Italian from Thiene in Veneto replaced Bernhard Gobmeier, who switched to Volkswagen Motorsport. At Ducati, Gigi took over responsibility for the Ducati Corse racing department as sports director. The following year, Andrea Dovizioso was the best Ducati driver in fifth place in the World Championship, and one season later Andrea Iannone. The same placement followed again in 2016 for “Desmo-Dovi”. But where was the hoped-for increase through the signing of dall’Igna?

Luigi “Gigi” dall’Igna – many journalists have stubbornly referred to it as a genius for many years, although Ducati has not had a breakthrough for almost 8 years. This applies to WorldSBK and also MotoGP (© WorldSBK).

Excuses are of little use – facts remain undisputed
Of course, everyone can say that it was Marc Marquez and Jonathan Rea’s fault that Ducati never achieved a breakthrough in the two world championships. Except for 2017, when the Repsol Honda driver did not see the finish three times, Dovizioso was never able to seriously press him in the title fight. But this did not change the fact that practically all reporters stubbornly refer to Gigi as a “mastermind” to this day. What is certain is that the Ducati has become more drivable over the years and that not only exceptional talents like Casey Stoner as the only 2007 world champion for the reds could handle it. With Jorge Lorenzo, however, it took a year and a half before you realized that the tank needed a different shape for him.

Casey Stoner (Ducati) – in 2007 the only world champion for Ducati to date. The commitment of dall’Igna has not changed anything to this day. Perhaps he would have achieved more alone as the person responsible for the Reds than all the highly decorated current managers (© MotoGP).

Much credit for little success – Gigi dall’Igna

If he were a genius, why did almost everyone in 2020 call the Suzuki the best bike in MotoGP? Despite Gigi, the breakthrough in both WorldSBK and MotoGP has not yet materialized. The Ducati tour with Luigi dall’Igna and Paolo Ciabatti may well have its qualities. But often enough they were very unhappy when it came to choosing a driver. They lost Jorge Lorenzo, who had already signed with Repsol Honda when he only started winning with the Reds after a year and a half. They had little luck with Petrux in the works team and Andrea Dovizioso also broke up in the first Corona year. To describe Gigi as a mastermind against this background and the modest successes of his tenure, a lot of credit for little success!

Davide Tardozzi (left) with three-time world champion Troy Bayliss – this is what success looks like. As Team Principal for Ducati, the former WorldSBK rider was responsible for the successes with Carl Fogarty and the Australian, which adds up to 7 world titles.

The arithmetic genius at Ducati – Paolo Ciabatti

The Italian was recently said to have claimed the Losail circuit was a Ducati circuit. At Red Bull Media and similar sites, however, you never really know what is really true and what was invented. In any case, Paolo Ciabatti would have hardly been accepted as a math genius at Harvard University. Do the math: 16 MotoGP races took place in Qatar from 2004 to 2019. Yamaha won exactly half and thus 8 of them. Honda has been victorious three times and therefore only 5 wins went to Ducati riders. 3 of them went to the account of exceptional talent Casey Stoner and the last 2 triumphs were contributed by “Desmo-Dovi”, as he was still called in his Ducati days. Truly daring by Ciabatti, should he really have said this, to speak of a Ducati circuit at Losail.

The MotoGP starting grid for 2019 was photographed by us in Losail at the season opener – the eventual winner Andrea Dovizioso was second from the left. Many see Jack Miller on the Ducati as one of the top favorites for the 2021 edition. We’ll know more on March 28th at around 7pm GMT.