It’s amazing to see Bagnaia smiling after the red flag during the Motegi race. The interruption granted the victory to Martin, which shortens the gap in the standings, with just 3 points and 6 GPs (12 races) remaining until the end of the championship. Maybe because of the heavy rain, Pecco sees the glass half full.
“It usually takes more for me to get pissed for a second place, but this is my first podium when it’s wet, and I had fun,” he said, explaining his good mood. “I was competitive, and I was catching up Jorge. Unfortunately, the race ended early, but I’m very happy because being fast today helps me a lot. It’s true that now I only have three points ahead of him, but that's fine. This weekend made me very happy.”
The world champion thinks that, with a few more laps, he could’ve caught up with the Spanish rider.
“Martin pushed a lot on the t’re in the first laps, especially in acceleration, while Marc and I were more careful,” Bagnaia pointed out. “When the rain became more intense, he started to struggle. Unfortunately, the race ended early, but that’s fine because the conditions were prohibitive.”
It’s almost as if the championship were starting from scratch.
“I think it’ll be interesting. It could become a good fight, even if everything will become more intense and difficult,” Pecco responded. “I’ve already been in this situation, and I know how to handle it. I like this pressure, and it doesn’t bother me much. Jorge is in a great moment, but I found something that helped me these days. Surely, in Mandalika, I’ll be able to battle it out again with him and with the other riders, even if I arrived there in a very difficult technical condition last year. I like the rest of the tracks.”
In Motegi, both showed that they weren’t afraid of the risks and also deserved Marquez’s compliments.
“The biggest difficulty was understanding the conditions. For example, maybe it would’ve been better to do one more lap with a slick before changing bikes. At the beginning, with the rain on the wet asphalt, it was very difficult. The front would lock,” Bagnaia said. “The red flag came at the right time. There was too much aquaplaning on the straight and turns two and ten were dangerous. I risked falling on the return lap. They tried to get us going again, but it was impossible. There was a lot of water on the track, and it was getting dark. Today, however, they made all the right decisions.”
Finally, Pecco didn’t miss the chance to tease Marquez about his arrival in Ducati. When the Spanish reider described the podium at Motegi as “romantic”, Bagnaia laughed: “Bye bye Honda. It’s like seeing Valentino kissing the Yamaha again.”