A pole position and a victory; if the Saturday at the Red Bull Ring was not a perfect one for Bagnaia, it was close enough, and the doubt arises that the best is yet to come with tomorrow's race. In the meantime, he can put away the medal for first place in the recent sprint and the 5 points earned in the standings over Martin (now 46 behind).
“We managed to do everything, even improving between qualifying and the short race, now I'm ready for the real one - he said - I hadn’t won a sprint since Mugello and I’ve rarely felt so good already on Saturday, usually I always arrived a little late".
Did you take a last-minute gamble that paid off?
“Yes, and it has happened many other times. The new bike lends itself to this type of work, because it has more grip than the old one, so it turns less and is more nervous. It always needs work to set it up, sometimes it takes more and sometimes less time. Succeeding gives me confidence because for better or worse we always find the right direction; we never get lost”.
Today you gave Binder 2 seconds in 14 laps, how far can you go tomorrow?
“It will be impossible to do like today at the start of the race, I simply thought about pushing without worrying about the tyres. I knew it would be the right strategy considering the compound we have here. Tomorrow will be a different race: it's very hot and 28 laps are a lot. It will be essential not to let anyone pass me, because the increase in tyre pressure is a big problem and can become dangerous, you have to be very careful."
With this tyre pressure rule, is MotoGP getting even closer to F1? Starting in front means having finished half the race...
“Yes, but it was Dorna who accepted it and that's the way it is (laughs). Here Michelin gave us a little more leeway for pressure than at Silverstone, due to the characteristics of the circuit, but it's difficult for the technicians. This morning I followed Vinales, it wasn't very hot, but the temperature and tyre pressure were already over the limit, and it can become dangerous, especially when you're in a group".
Did today go as you expected?
“It was very important to get off to a good start and be first. I knew KTM's potential, but Ducati brought me something new that helped me. What was it? An invisible part! (laughs) At that point I braked very late for 3 or 4 corners to give Brad no chance to pass me and then I pushed like hell. I was expecting a bigger group in the first laps, but we saw the disaster that happened in the first corner."
Did you figure out who triggered it?
“In my opinion, it all started with Vinales' slow start, because they arrived at the first corner with 4 or 5 riders side by side. When Maverick saw that Quartararo was passing him, he closed his line a lot, Fabio let go of the brakes and took Martin. It could have been avoided: Fabio and Jorge started from behind and charged forward at a higher speed than Vinales. Martin tried to stay out of trouble, but he ended up in it due to the manoeuvres of the other two. However, it is a difficult episode to judge, it is not easy to blame someone. We should simply be more careful in the first corner, without thinking of passing 6 riders in one go".
Do you think it's right to decide on certain episodes after the race? In Jerez you were penalized during.
“And I hadn't knocked anyone over. Sometimes more time may be needed, in these cases it's good to penalize in the following race".
Back to you: you don't seem to have a main rival, it's always changing. Can it be said that you are racing against yourself?
“I'm not thinking about it, I'm focused on being consistent, staying in front is my goal and I'm always succeeding. We must continue like this and not think about who will arrive ”.
Today you took your 6th pole position, the same number as last season. What does it mean?
“Last year I started from the middle of the championship (laughs)”.
Has having Valentino Rossi on the circuit helped you in any way?
“When he's here, he's very busy with his team. We saw each other last night, but we generally talk more when he's at home and freer. It always helps me to talk about things with him”.