Superhero Bagnaia made use of his powers today at Misano. He's bruised - to say the least - but he had no intention of giving up and the first objective, direct entry into Q2, has already been achieved. Before talking about his day, however, we need to get something out of our head, that of him commenting on the rumours about the possible arrival of Marquez in the Gresini team. He replied with a smile: “I would be happy because we could have some good fights. If Marc came to Ducati he would certainly be very fast straight away, having a rival like him is always nice."
Now let's move on to you, what were the first feelings back on the bike?
“Of pain, honestly (laughs). I was hoping more that I was feeling better this morning because honestly, I can't move the foot because I feel pain from the haematoma. This morning was more tough because I wasn't understanding where to put the foot. This afternoon, we moved the rear brake lever because I was pushing on the rear brake lever and losing the rear in all the fast corners and it was quite scary. But this afternoon I understand where to put the foot, where I can't lean like usual, but we did a good step in front. Honestly, I don't know what to expect from tomorrow, but right now being in the top 10 today was like a pole position.”
From the outside, the glass appears to be half full.
“My performance was incredible if I consider my situation and the few days that have passed since the incident. The first impact was 24 Gs on the coccyx and then 23 on the leg, it's something absurd. I can feel everything, it must be said, but I was quite emotional after the practice, all the team was, but we can be very happy and satisfied with the result we did today."
How limited are your physical conditions?
“It's very difficult to know exactly. What I feel is that normally I put out my leg to help me have to more balance and to brake more, and I can do it, but it's not the same – I'm more unstable on the braking. This is for sure something that is a bit limiting, but when I had to lean, I missed a bit of the lean angle. I really can't force on doing that with the leg and it's a bit of a limitation but we have the luck that this kind of track has a lot of grip and the tyre consumption is not so high, so I can turn the bike with the gas. The hematoma should go down and as soon as it does I should feel better."
Are you optimistic about the sprint race?
“I don't want to think about tomorrow, I prefer to relax a bit, then I'll go to physiotherapy which will definitely help me. I feel a bit tired, it's been a difficult day, I need to rest. Whatever result comes will be fine, it was important to come back and do well, more for myself than for the final position and I started off on the right foot. This morning I rode without painkillers, in the afternoon I took something light, probably tomorrow I will need something stronger".
How do you mentally get over an accident like yours?
“Getting on the bike right away. The first thing you teach a child when he falls off his bicycle is to get up and get back on the bike. It's more or less the same thing, I mentally needed to get back on the bike because the crash was very gruesome, doing it here, with the fans, and in this way was fundamental. Above all, being quick right away."
Also in 2020 you raced here in Misano after returning from a bad injury.
“I had weeks before getting back on the bike, this time only 4 days. The pain is more intense, but theoretically it should decrease sooner, already in India I shouldn't have any more problems. I'm here for myself, I can't imagine giving up: it was important to go back immediately and grit my teeth, I knew what I was going to face. These days sleeping was the most difficult thing, I didn't know what to do. The 24 Gs were all on the coccyx, I don't recommend anyone to sleep with a pain in the butt and I even had some problems in the bathroom (laughs). I had my guardian angel, Domizia, who drove me everywhere and helped me. I have to thank all the people who work for me, the doctors, who gave me a hand. I would be happy if I left here satisfied with what I have achieved, I don't have a goal. At the moment I see myself in the top 5, then whatever comes will come."
Many riders complained about the poor grip in Barcelona, what is your opinion?
“I will also say this to the Safety Commission, it should be mandatory to have good grip on the asphalt like what we have here in Misano. In Barcelona it was a disaster, it was too slippery, for me a situation like that in our championship is not possible. They took Brno off the calendar for that reason, so it should be the same for Barcelona, although I wouldn't be happy because it's a track I love. It's not safe, as soon as you make a small mistake you crash. You don't have fun like that, it feels like the Ranch, it's not acceptable for me."