Pecco Bagnaia experienced a perfect Saturday in Austin, repeating what he already did in Portimao in the opening round of the world championship. Starting from pole, in the Sprint Race he immediately imposed an unsustainable pace for his rivals and after seeing off the attacks of Alex Rins, he broke away in a solitary ride that led him to conquer his third victory of the season and get close to the top slot in the standings, which remains in the hands of Bezzecchi by a single point.
The performance he needed after the setback in Argentina, demonstrating how today Bagnaia really is the only man to beat for the world championship. Because he best interprets what is almost certainly the best bike on the grid, that is his Ducati. And also because among the rivals there is no one who at the moment is able to replicate his consistency of performance at the highest level.
"For sure, it was one of the best days I ever had in MotoGP – said Pecco - considering the performance we had during the whole day. My feeling with the bike is growing and, in this track, for the first time I’m feeling great. This morning with used tyres I was feeling okay, so already I understood where to improve. But today for the race it was very difficult because the conditions were very hot, and it was difficult to stop the bike. I was having a lot of locking and sincerely, it was a bit of a problem at the start of the race. But then I was used to it. Tomorrow will be a different story."
Do you expect tomorrow to be harder for you?
"Twenty laps here are a lot. Today's ten laps were already tough. I'll have to stay calm; I don't think we can push from the start. The first part of the race will be slower in my opinion, then I'll have to figure out if I have the pace to try to create a gap like I did today. But in any case, I have to stay calm and see. It should be cooler, so things could get easier for everyone."
Is it true you promised to ride back at the end of the race in cowboy boots if you win?
"Yes, if someone gives me cowboy boots, I'll put them on the entry lap, I promised I would if I was fast in the race. But someone has to give them to me, because I don't have them!".
You seem to be getting used to the new format, what do you think?
"We are getting used to the Sprint race. For sure, the track has less points where you can do crazy things. If you consider that the first race was too intense, the second one had some touch and contact but not as big as the first one and this one was more calm. Maybe we are getting more used to it but it’s also the track. In Jerez it’s a different story."
In short, the perfect day.
"This morning qualifying was excellent, and I knew I had good pace for the Sprint Race. I'm happy, but I know tomorrow will be another story. At least I'm enjoying this great day. I know we did a good job and that leaves me serene. But tomorrow the race is long, we will have to manage it. Maybe the cool weather will help for the tyres. For the moment, I'm really serene".
You were very fast today; do you think you will be even faster tomorrow?
"In Portimao, Sunday's race pace was faster than Saturday. Here, I don't think it's possible. Today I didn't feel any drops with the tyre, but I think tomorrow it will change from this point of view too. It will be important to stay in front from the start."
Did you expect to see Rins so strong here?
"Alex Rins is a rider who always goes very fast here. Then Marquez too, he's always been very strong here with the Honda. You can see that the turns are tight and with all these hairpin bends there is no doubt it helps. We brake very hard, and our bike is become very malleable for all circuits, it's almost always good. I expected that Alex would be fast here, because we all know his potential and we know that when the conditions are right to do well, he does well."