The start of the world championship is upon us. Tomorrow the riders of the three categories will take to the track to officially kick off the Qatar Grand Prix, which will mark the start of the 2021 season. It is no secret that the Losail circuit is a very favourable track for Ducati. Francesco Bagnaia, in his first year in the Borgo Panigale factory team, is now a fully-deserving member of the list of riders from whom an excellent race is expected. For his part, Pecco said he was satisfied with the tests and enthusiastic about the improvements made to the bike, his goal is to fight in the top five and try to replicate the pace held during the last few sessions.
"The Ducati has improved a lot during the winter and in fact I feel very good on the bike - said Pecco - much more than last year. Also, compared to 2020, my test pace has improved by eight tenths and for this reason I feel very comfortable with the bike. I think it will be a very positive season. I know that this track is very good for us, we need to understand if the bike has really improved as much as we think but I think it has ”.
Bagnaia: "Luca Marini is in the same condition as me in 2020: if I can I will help him"
Do you think you can be a benchmark, a guide for the other Ducati riders?
“I think Valentino is the 'head of all the masters'. The first year with Ducati I was looking for someone to guide me and now that Luca is in the same situation I would really like to help him, if I have the opportunity ".
You have always had a lot of pressure on you, both from you and from outside, how are you experiencing the competition within the official team?
“I feel good, I think I have great people by my side who help me feel less pressure. I will have to wait for the other races to see if all this pressure will increase, but at the moment I feel good ”.
Out of all the eligible candidates for the win on Sunday there are you and Jack Miller, you are the names most talked about. Your way of working and your peace of mind have amazed everyone. Do you think you are at peak preparation for the race?
“Certainly in terms of preparation, physical and mental, I feel very good. I feel more prepared. Last year I had a season to figure out where I should have worked harder and this winter I concentrated a lot to succeed, thanks also to my fitness coach. I think I did a good job. The fracture in my leg last year was a blow that took me a long time to recover from and is now getting back to 100%. I went back to running on the athletics field and went back to doing a lot of activities that last year I couldn't afford to do. This is a huge advantage, both on a physical and aerobic level, because last year in June I couldn't run anymore. Aerobically at the end of the season I was not in good shape. Now, having started again, I feel much better and can run calmly. There is always physiotherapy to be done, but on a mental level, while I ride, it is a big advantage because I have more breath and this allows me to oxygenate the brain more and consequently allow my head to be clearer ".
Do you feel like you are one of the men to beat?
“I'm not saying that I feel like I’m one of the men to beat, because if you look at last year's races I can't say I am, but the pace I maintained in the tests was very fast. In the race simulation that I did I was very fast, in my opinion I can be part of the game and can fight to be in the top five ".