Pecco Bagnaia tries to resolve with a joke the fact of not being able to get directly into Q2 at Mandalika: "yesterday there was a lot of talk about Marquez, so today I wanted to be the centre of conversation". The desire to joke suggests that the Ducati champion already knows what went wrong and how he can recover, but his 16th time in FP2 is certainly not the best way to start the weekend.
“I never expected to be out of Q2 with the feelings I had on the bike - he admitted - I returned to having great confidence when braking and on entry, a crazy speed when cornering and also a good grip, which was something that I have missed in the last period compared to Martin: there were all the right conditions to do well. Unfortunately I failed to find the right solution with the electronics."
“We solved a problem on one side and a problem emerged on the other, even if it's not a real problem, more a question of adapting the electronics. Maybe it's also because of the different tyres and the new asphalt, the rear is very nervous, on the last lap it went away when lifting off at turn 14, at that point there is very little engine braking and the bike went in like a knife. It's a somewhat particular situation, we're working on it and, fortunately, the electronic part is easier to manage, in the chassis part there are a lot more unknowns. I'm calm from this point of view, but we have to find a solution."
Will one night and another practice session be sufficient?
“The last one to lose heart in these situations is me, the last time I was in Q1 was at Jerez, I was slow and then I won the GP. This time I was just left out of Q2 due to other circumstances, but I'm sure that tomorrow we will resolve our problems and I will be able to fight to stay in front. Now I'm very happy with the setup."
You say you're calm, don't you feel the pressure of having Martin breathing down your neck in the rankings?
“I always put serenity first, it is fundamental for me and I have a team that helps me. When a problem is very limited I am calm, I get agitated when there are more things to sort out, but this is not the case."
Going through Q2 also means using more tyres.
“I will certainly be forced to use more tyres, the best thing would be to be able to set a good time already in the first time attack to save one. You have to try to adapt, I'm not too worried. Tomorrow will be interesting, because there is only a narrow clean line and starting from the back would be a problem."
Do you have an idea of what your race pace is?
“We all did different tests because we have different tyres compared to last year, so there were those who worked with the soft and those with the hard on the front. My pace is in line with that of the fastest, better than Jorge's, but I lack a bit of confidence when the front tyre drops and here the wear is quite high."
Are your physical ailments just a memory?
“It's the first time since Le Mans that I'm 100%, I'm very happy from this point of view.”