“We are heroes, superheroes, that's the truth. I think we need to remember this sometimes”: Pecco Bagnaia didn’t mince his words in describing his and Marco Bezzecchi’s performances today. Both injured and both on the front row after qualifying and on the podium after the sprint race at Misano. For the world champion it wasn't a foregone conclusion of a result, the effort for him was incredible, so much so that shortly after crossing the finish line he jumped into his truck to continue with the therapy.
How do you feel?
"Quite bad, right now. Tired, really tired. I need some rest for sure. But we were expecting it, I was expecting it and the soft rear tyre was not an easy solution for the race because it made the bike more nervous, it was shaking more, and it was difficult to have a rhythm. In any case, I'm happy with the result considering where we were six days ago. I'm so pleased and proud for the result we achieved."
If someone had predicted a 3rd place for you on Monday, what would you have said to them?
“I wouldn't have been happy, but I would have accepted it. That's how I am, it's not so much the result itself that matters, but it's the way we got there that makes me proud."
How much is a podium worth to you right now?
“It's certainly a nice motivational boost, what I did wasn't a foregone conclusion. It would have been easier to take a weekend off and get back to 100%, I know that this GP will bring me some complications next week. But it was too important not to let it go."
Bezzecchi said that you saved yourself a little for tomorrow's race.
“I don't know, I did what I could. Tomorrow will certainly be different, I will be able to be more competitive because I will race with a tyre that I prefer, but going from 3rd to 2nd or 1st is difficult. At the moment, Jorge has an advantage from every point of view, he is very fast, has great consistency and is not injured. He is at a higher level and it will be difficult to beat him."
What is the plan for tomorrow's race?
"For sure, the main thing will be to increase the painkiller just to have a clearer idea on just riding and not thinking on where to put my foot, because today in the first two, three laps I was struggling on leaning the knee because I was not warmed. But then the pace was quite good. I was struggling with the front because it was difficult to stop the bike, but I was expecting it. For tomorrow it will be better because we go with the medium. Right now I will re-watch the race to understand what Martin is doing in the last sector, for sure."
Today you had to deal with Pedrosa...
"Dani was pushing a lot, I was hearing him. The braking I did in the first corner on the last lap was one of the hardest for sure, because he was already in front of me and it was too important to restart with a podium after Barcelona. Much more than this was very difficult."
Did you defend like Sainz at Monza?
“Carlos did a good defensive job, as far as I'm concerned it's a skill I've had for some time because I can brake hard even when I'm in difficulty. This is a weekend where it's important to take the points and do what you can, you don't have to force it."
Can the Ducati also be improved for the race?
“It's impossible to adapt the bike to my conditions, even if today I struggled less because I knew what to do. I struggled in the right-hand corners and on this circuit they all turn that way, furthermore when the bike started to shake it was difficult for me to stop those movements. I can't use my legs as I would like, if I pushed only with the left I couldn't compensate with the right, so in the end I only ride with my arms. Luckily I have excellent physical preparation, but if I could also use my legs the bike would be more stable."
What would be a realistic goal?
“The only thing is to be in the top 5. Today I managed to lose only 5 points in the standings, it's a great result. I didn't expect to come back and be on the podium in the first race."
The special graphics of your helmet brought you luck.
“It came about from a collaboration with an artist, Gianpiero D'Alessandro, who I met at the Ranch. He is a fantastic person and I immediately asked him to collaborate. The helmet is just the beginning, we have other projects together."