Moto3: Ducati nearing lightweight class return

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Ducati are nearing a return to MotoGP’s lightweight class for the first time in nearly sixty years, with MCN’s sources confirming that the Italian manufacturer’s new Moto3 machine has taken to the track in private tests ahead of a full-time appearance on the grid in 2018.

It’s believed that a number of teams on the grid have already reached out to the Bologna firm to express an interest in running the bikes next year, with it remaining to be seen if Ducati will opt to extend their MotoGP team to Moto3.

However, it’s more likely that they’ll instead adopt the model used by successful manufacturers like Mahindra and KTM, who instead subcontract other teams (Aspar and Ajo, respectively) to run their squads.

Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall’Igna suggested at the end of last season that a move to the smaller class for the first time since Mike Hailwood last won for them in 1959 was in the pipeline for them, but it’s believed my MCN that the move is even more imminent than he suggested at the time.

However, his comments were tempered at February’s launch of the MotoGP project by CEO Claudio Domenicali, who didn’t commit to the project despite admitting their interest.

“Moto3 is a very interesting category, but for now it’s out of our plan. We’ve had a discussion inside the racing department but not inside the whole company, and for now it’s not in the company’s plan. I can’t deny that it would be very interesting, because you can grow young riders and follow a rider into MotoGP, even if Moto2 is in between – and some companies are solving that.

“Currently our development plan doesn’t follow an entry into Moto3, but that plan is being reviewed every year.”

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer