Beginning of February, Sepang track: At the end of the first three days of tests in 2019, there were four Ducati in front of everyone. Among them was Bagnaia, the rookie, 2nd at just two shakes from Petrucci and under the circuit record. It seemed like a springboard for Pecco. Instead, it was the beginning of an ordeal that ended only a few days ago, with the podium he just happened to miss at Phillip Island.
"Those tests were the biggest problem of the season for me," Pecco thought back to the scene of the crime. "Being so fast was counterproductive because it made me think it was all easy. When I came back to Earth, finding my path towards competitiveness was very complicated."
It could be paradoxical: being so fast made him instead go slower.
"I was kidding myself ," the Pramac team rider continued. "I knew the MotoGP would have been difficult, but it's become even more so. I arrived as a world champion, but I was struggling to be fast."
In some cases, in order not to fall, it takes character and willpower.
"Fortunately, I've learned not to give up in my career, especially during the two years with Mahindra in the Moto3 ," he remembered. "That experience helped me a lot because it was one of the hardest years to face."
And it's not over yet but, above all, Bagnaia hasn't finished his job. And we're not only referring to the last two races.
"I realized that I have to change my riding style, and I have to do it by the end of the year," he said was his goal. "I have always focused on riding smoothly, but it doesn't work in the MotoGP and with Ducati. I tried, but I realized I had to change, to find a compromise."
The turning point before Thailand.
"I went to Borgo Panigale and, along with the engineers, we analyzed my weaknesses," explained Pecco. "The main one was braking, and I started working on that. It worked because I was strong in that area in Japan."
However, changing riding style isn't easy.
"I rode with a clear head for the first time at Phillip Island, without thinking too much about what I had to do," he continued. "It all came easier, and it was a great satisfaction for me because I worked so hard to succeed. Then that track adapts well to my riding style and also to the Ducati. It cornered really well, and I was really confident with the front. Now I have to think about Sepang, another track that I really like, and I'm very curious to see my improvements compared to the tests at the beginning of the year."