No doubt about it, Pecco Bagnaia ended his first Malaysian tests riding a MotoGP in the best way possible. After two days of his working and developing, the rider from the Piedmont region of Italy really surprised everyone with a truly important result: that 1:58.302 time which moved him up into to the magnanimous positions of the standings.
“I'm not a rider who rides at the fastest speed,” he explained , “but I tried to push a lot, and I think there’s still a margin. The time attack is different from Moto2 because the tire you use is the same as the one you use in the race, so you have to push differently. In MotoGP, you don’t have to exaggerate when hard braking, to then catch up when exiting.”
Leaving aside the single lap, Pecco can, therefore, smile and, having definitively stopped before the end of the day, analyze his progress.
“I’m happy with the work we’ve accomplished because we’ve gone very far ahead. I think I have a good basic distribution in view of the tests in Qatar, although we still have to work on some of the electronics. We’re not even badly affected by the pace. Unfortunately, however, I didn’t manage to finish the afternoon race simulation because of some gastroenteritis. The important thing is that, every time I ride, I learn something new.”
The rider from Piedmont, who relocated to Pesaro, continued his analysis, focusing on his growth in terms of riding.
“I’m happy to have learned to ride in the MotoGP as a MotoGP rider. I started with a style similar to the Moto2,” he said, “to then, for example, learn to lift the bike much earlier to gain more traction. I want to try to be faster at every lap. I have to especially understand how to have a steady pace in the race, without excessive wear on the tires. I like the distribution we found. It allows me to brake forward and stop early.”
Number 63 surprised everyone today, including himself. All this, however, is not accidental but the result of the excellent understanding that lies between Pecco and the team.
“I never expected a result of 1:58 and to be so far ahead. My goal was to reach 1:59. These were the first three days of testing of the year, and I’m trying to learn all the team’s know-how, in order to use it to my advantage. We have more or less the same working method, so it’s easy to understand each other. Every change we make leads to a result. I hope to continue like this.”
In conclusion, there’s also room for an analysis of the tires. A factor with which even a rookie will have to often deal.
“We had two new tires to try out, one front and one rear. I liked both, especially the rear that is soft, with different characteristics, which allowed me to be fast on long distances. We noticed that, for now, I don’t wear out the tires much. So, if they bring softer tires, it won’t be a problem for us.”
You can also perceive satisfaction from Jack Miller’s side of the pit, at just a few thousandths of a second from your teammate, and, therefore, very fast.
“I’m happy with my speed, while I still have to improve on the long run. In the race simulation, I struggled at times, so we have to work on this aspect to understand where the problem is.”