After an unforgettable victory for Ducati, as they conquered the Aragon circuit thanks to Bagnaia’s stunts (with his first podium in the MotoGP), we spoke with Davide Tardozzi, Ducati Corse’s team manager.
Off the bat, how was this victory?
“It was an incredible race. It gave us really strong emotions. Pecco was very good at keeping Marc behind him for the entire race. He was glued to him from start to finish. Only a few tenths of a second separated them. Handling such a situation and that kind of pressure, without making mistakes, is something that only a true champion can do. He was able to manage the race intelligently, and we’re really happy for him. He deserves a big round of applause.”
Who do you think is most excited about this win, you or him?
"Definitely me. Pecco managed the race perfectly, with an incredible nonchalance and clarity, demonstrating a champion mentality.”
Marquez said he felt like he was racing behind a fast Dovizioso even in mid-corner.
“It’s clear that Pecco is a real talent. Dovizioso is also a great rider. So, if Pecco was acknowledged for more of his qualities today, this only further proves his skill as a rider.”
Bagnaia said several times this year that he had thrown away several opportunities. The frustration was evident. Did you speak to him? Did he need your help to get out of that impasse?
“We’ve obviously talked many times. But I must say that Pecco has never lost heart. He’s always been aware of his abilities, since the beginning of the year. Even during less positive moments, he’s never lost that spark in his eyes, the certainty of those who know they can get where they want.”
Pecco also told us that he didn’t really like all those signals that reminded him of having Marquez breathing down his neck.
“In fact, it was my idea,” he answered, as he smiled. "With four laps to go, I wanted to send those signals. He obviously knew who he was facing, he knew he was back there, and was just waiting for his mistake. So, I just wanted to help him keep his clarity, as if to say ‘you know what he’s capable of’. A kind of subliminal message perhaps. Whether or not it made a difference, I can’t say.”
In short, it was worth waiting so long for this victory.
“We would have liked to have won at Mugello, but due to a contingent situation, perhaps linked to the tragedy with Dupasquier, he made a mistake. Pecco is a sensitive guy, and that event might have destabilized him that day. We, as Ducati, had no doubts that a victory would come sooner or later. Of course, we haven’t had as many results as we would have liked to have this season, for one reason or another, especially on some tracks, even though Pecco has always been very fast. I personally have never liked to bring up terms like ‘bad luck’.”
You’ve worked with many riders in the MotoGP. Each one is different from the other. Does Pecco remind you of any?
“Like you said, every rider is unique. I was talking about it yesterday with Gigi, and maybe Pecco demonstrates some of Jorge Lorenzo’s qualities. I mean in terms of riding style. But the champions are all unique, so Pecco Bagnaia is simply Pecco Bagnaia.”
He also mentioned it sometimes. But, from the outside, it almost seems like Pecco found his ‘place’ when he joined the factory team, as if he were being psyched by the pressure.
“You should ask him. I can say that, from his first approach with the team, the relationship was very positive, without problems of any kind. I saw he was really happy to take his place on that bike.”
Now the next stop is Misano, with 53 points behind the world leader, Quartararo, and five tracks still to be tackled.
“It’s clear that the gap isn’t small. But both – we as the Ducati team and Pecco as the rider – have the obligation and duty to believe in it until the end. Until the numbers state that the game is over, Pecco will be there to try and push hard, Then, of course, we’ll see what happens in the upcoming races.”
Any regrets, maybe at Silverstone?
“Regrets are of little use.There’s no championship in which you don’t have some regrets. What matters to me is to roll up our sleeves and work to do better in the next race. Today, we won here in Aragon. We’d like to be able to repeat this again next weekend in Misano.”