MotoGP Champion Has Not Yet Decided on #1 Plate for 2023
Francesco Bagnaia says that he is yet to decide about using the #1 plate for his title defense in 2023. He has ‘always been fascinated’ by riders who does.
The last rider, Bagnaia became the first Ducati rider to win the world title in the 2022 season finale in Valencia. He also became the first rider to have overturned a 91-point deficit and suffer five DNFs to be crowned champion.
Since Casey Stoner in 2012, no rider has used the #1 plate after his second title the year before with Honda.
After his 2007 championship win with Ducati, Stoner also rant the #1 in 2008. On the other hand, other riders who have used the #1 plate in the modern MotoGP era were, Jorge Lorenzo, in 2011 and Nicky Hayden in 2007, respectively.
Bagnaia, who was recently running at #63 and then in #42 and #21 in Moto2 and Moto3, said that using the #1 plate is something he has to think about. Although it is an opportunity reserved for champions, it will come with a lot of pressure.
During the 2023 pre-season test after the race in Valencia, Bagnaia said that he is happy about having this kind of problem. However, it is something he had to think about a lot. He further that not everybody gets the opportunity to use the number one. However, it brings in a lot of pressure.
He also said that he has always been fascinated by a rider who has number one. So, he hopes for the best as it is difficult to choose. He also hopes that he does not have the opportunity to feel what he felt on Sunday as it can be more dangerous.
When asked whether he felt like a world champion, he declined. He said that he will give him one week to Ducati to let him do what they want and then he will turn off his phone to think and relax.
The last rider who successfully defended the number 1 plate in MotoGP was Mick Doohan in 1998. He took the last of his five 500 cc world titles. Since then, the riders who run the #1 have not retained the crown.
When Bagnaia made his MotoGP debut in 2009, he was unable to use either his Moto2 or Moto3 race numbers. The number 63 he now races in was a sun of the race number in Moto2 and Moto3.