Pecco Bagnaia finished in a more than decent fifth position on Friday in Barcelona, showing an excellent progression between morning and afternoon and looking to be one of the candidates for pole tomorrow. The Ducati rider, after his crash in the Mugello race, needed a solid performance to regain the right confidence that will be required to keep up with a truly inspired Quartararo at this stage of the season.
With an eventual win, the Frenchman will stamp his authority in the standings and it is a scenario that the Ducati riders must prevent at all costs to avoid finding themselves in difficulty in the coming races, perhaps being forced to recover and risking even more than necessary.
"Quartararo is certainly the most consistent - said Bagnaia - he has proved to be very fast and often has had no opponents. At Mugello I was strong and fast on the pace and I would have been able to stay with him in the race, but I can't find any excuses because my race was over immediately. This is a very Yamaha track, but in my opinion we can do very well. It will be important to mark him in the first laps. In my opinion he is the strongest, but our bike is very competitive and we are fast. "
Aren't you afraid that with Zarco and Miller you can create a situation in which you steal points from each other?
"In my opinion it's not a problem, the fight is still so open that there is no need for team orders or anything like that. Jack, Johann and I are fighting for the title, so nobody takes points away from anyone in my opinion." .
Tell us about your Friday in Barcelona…
"My sensations this morning were good, but today when I started lapping on the soft tires I had some problems, because on the right side the tire didn't work well. I had problems entering and exiting corners, I was in trouble. Then we put on a new soft one at the end of the session and the time attack was good, I did a good enough time to get into Q2. I think the race tire cannot be the softest in any case, it slides too much and generates pumping on the front. Tomorrow we’ll try the medium and hard to choose one for the race, maybe in FP4. Last year at the end of the first day I was next to last, I have certainly made a good step forward with the bike this year and I'm happy with that. We are missing something on the race pace, we need to improve from this point of view but I think we will succeed tomorrow. "
Do you think it’s going to be a very tactical race?
"Yes, and it will be important not to lose too much time at the beginning. The Yamaha is very quick to get the tires to work, so in the first laps they are always very strong. But they are also the ones who struggle the most with grip at the end of the race. We must find a compromise and for sure the race will need a lot of management. It may not be much fun for those watching, but doing these types of races is very interesting because you understand how much difference you can make with used tires. "
How was your return to the track after the negative emotions of Mugello?
"It is always nice to get on the bike, so I was happy. For sure we are on a track where the grip is very different than at Mugello, here it seems as if you are on ice. In certain situations it is strange, because it seems that you go faster if you don’t give gas. You have to manage it a lot, it's different from any other circuit. But I felt good, we know that we have to improve and that the race pace will be fundamental. With used tires we are usually strong, tomorrow we will have to improve a lot on the pace but I'm pretty sure we can do it. "