You are here

MotoGP, VIDEO - Bagnaia and that unfortunate choice of words after Le Mans

Some of Pecco's declarations are raising a bit of an uproar: "The Fantastic 4 came about because they had the factory bikes and the others didn't have a chance to be close to them. Today, anyone can win"

MotoGP: VIDEO - Bagnaia and that unfortunate choice of words after Le Mans


Pecco Bagnaia indulged in some declarations after Sunday's Le Mans Grand Prix that are raising a real media fuss. Before commenting on them, here is everything he said.

"A rider who is behind and maybe doesn't have the potential, wants to pass six riders in one lap and it doesn't work like that. Because we're all at the limit, we're all there for the maximum goal. If I brake at the limit and you realize it, it's wrong, especially in the first part of the race, to do something more. If you look, incidents happen especially in the first part of the race. Probably because there's too much excitement.

In my opinion we should think and do something to improve the situation, because it's certainly not safe like this, it's not the best. But that's how it is at the moment. One thing I think is that from the first to the last bike, everyone can win, there are no longer those six or seven tenths that there were before between the factory bikes and customer bikes, which I think was needed. The Fantastic 4 came about because they were the strongest riders, but they had the factory bikes. While the others were quite far away because they didn't have the potential to stay ahead on a technical level.

Now the level is extreme, everything is pushed to the limit. Anyone can win, Augusto Fernandez was fourth today and it's his rookie season. For sure the race pace today wasn't very fast, apart from that of Bezzecchi. The others went slowly making sure that the group remained compact, but in my opinion we need to go back to having a bit of a gap between the factory and customer bikes, or find a solution to avoid certain things".

Here you can see the video with these declarations:

Bagnaia is certainly not a rider who often indulges in gratuitous controversy, but probably in this specific case the world champion's choice of words was unfortunate or at least easily misunderstood. Pecco was underlining the fact that today in MotoGP there is no longer any difference between factory and private bikes, which has enormously changed the cards on the table, making every single rider on the grid able to beat everyone else. A situation which makes it extremely difficult to make predictions and which does not allow a handful of riders to dominate. The reference to the Fantastic 4 period is clear, with the era of Rossi, Lorenzo, Stoner and Pedrosa. All great champions who in practice monopolized the first 4 positions of every classification for years.

Of course, Pecco should perhaps be reminded that the Stoner who was part of that group had a Ducati at his disposal that only he was able to take to the top of the world, while his brand-mates often floundered. But that's another story.

The point is that there are five manufacturers on the track today, all of them involved at a high level. At the time MotoGP had in the Japanese manufacturers those capable of calling all the shots, while today the axis of power has moved to Europe, with Ducati, Aprilia and KTM which, by dint of innovation and large investments, have driven a wedge that was unimaginable just a few years ago. Then it must be considered that Ducati alone supplies eight of the bikes on the grid and Yamaha, on the other hand, only puts two on the track. In short, it is a completely different world from the one to which Pecco refers, during which the legend of the Fantastic 4 in MotoGP came about.

But the question is perhaps another: does a champion need to know that his rivals on the track have less technical potential available in order to stand out? This shouldn't be the case and indeed, with so many riders having a high-level package at their disposal, the few real champions on the track should emerge. Today all the riders are very fast, as has often been underlined, the general level has increased thanks to an ever-growing attention to athletic training and the study of data. MotoGP is increasingly becoming a perfect science, in which every piece must be in the right place to excel.

But this turns into such a ruthless confrontation on the track that it has reduced the room for manoeuvre even for the great champions. We have talked about this many times and we can confirm it again: with the current MotoGP bikes, braking distances have been reduced enormously, aerodynamics have made it increasingly difficult to follow a rival closely, you have to deal with the temperature and pressure of the front tyre, which undergoes the effects of the motorcycle in front and is heavily conditioned.

In short, this is a MotoGP in which even the greatest champions struggle to emerge. Marc Marquez at Le Mans gave an ample demonstration of still being a phenomenon, in spite of months of hiatus, in spite of a Honda not up to par with the rival bikes as suggested by the performances of Mir and Rins (in Austin he was magnificent, but that was probably more unique than rare). But the dominating force he was in 2019 appears today to be a distant memory.

So perhaps this is the real subject under discussion and not the thought of somehow increasing the gap between factory and private bikes. It is precisely the bikes that perhaps need to change to make more room for the talent of a champion. R&D is making these bikes so perfect as to have very high limits that can be reached by almost everyone. Danilo Petrucci hadn't ridden a Ducati in MotoGP since 2020 and after testing it in France he confirmed that he found himself in the presence of a radically changed, better and easier bike.


These bikes are certainly not easy to take to the limit, but Casey Stoner's Ducati GP7 was probably a bit more difficult than the GP23 that dominates the track today and it was precisely this difficulty that allowed Casey's crystal-clear talent to emerge in all its splendour. Then perhaps the meaning of Pecco's declarations changes, perhaps the choice of words was not exemplary because in the way in which he said it, his declaration is really hard to swallow. A world champion who asks to have a better package than his rivals, even those who race with his same bike.

But that's not really what Pecco wants, rather a MotoGP where talent emerges more, exactly as it was at the time of the Fantastic 4 or going even further back, at the time of the 500cc. Beasts that were difficult to tame, but which rewarded the talent of the few who really succeeded. Except that for changes of this type, we will have to wait at least until 2026, when the regulations in MotoGP will change, because to changed them the current rules would require unanimity between the manufacturers regarding this or that decision. An impossible scenario today, given the superiority of some manufacturers over the others, conquered with enormous investments. Do you think Ducati, Aprilia and KTM would happily give up the advantage they have today over Yamaha and Honda?

So Bagnaia, like the other riders on factory bikes, will only have to make his talent count over that of the other riders who have completely similar bikes at their disposal. After all, they have an even more complex task to accomplish with respect to the period Pecco referred to in his declarations and titles conquered when all the rivals on the track can beat you, from a certain point of view are worth even more than those conquered when only three other riders on the track can beat you.


Related articles