"Finally!" Pecco Bagnaia welcomes his direct entry into Q2 with a smile and satisfaction, something he hasn't been able to do for a couple of GPs now. The world champion seems to have managed to get back on the level, working on the race and at the same time being effective on the flying lap, confident that he could have improved that 7th time.
“I'm not only happy for Q2, but also because I can brake hard and it's a good feeling that I had lost, now the bike follows me when I force myself to brake - he underlined - Unfortunately, in the first part of the second practice session I didn't have the same feeling as in the morning. I didn't feel good with the first medium tyre (in Thailand it's the softest compound available, ed.) that I used, I had some grip problems on the right shoulder, but as soon as we changed tyres for the time attack everything went perfectly. It's a shame about the yellow flag for Martin's crash on my last attempt, I had the feeling I could get under 1'30", I'm very happy with this day".
Bagnaia has learned from the mistakes made in recent races and has changed his strategy slightly for the Thai weekend.
“Today I had two completely different settings on my bikes: one followed the wave of Phillip Island and the other more similar to what I had used in Austria and on tracks where you brake hard. With the latter I felt much better - he continued - Furthermore, I normally start the second session with the harder compound, but today we used the softer tyre to have better sensations on the flying lap, unfortunately that tyre didn't work. I think it was the right strategy anyway."
The ranking and above all the sensations of Pecco, who now feels at the level of Martin, his rival for the title, say it all.
“At this moment Martin makes the difference compared to me by braking a bit slower and entering the corners a bit stronger - he commented on his opponent's performance - In the data I don't see big differences, but he is very good in the entry phase when cornering. With the way I went today and the pace I kept, it could be a race in which not two of us will fight. Jorge had a different strategy with the tyres, but our pace was very similar."
The other riders, however, will certainly not be standing by idly, starting with Vinales and Aleix Espargarò, who ended the day glued to Martin. They could be the tipping point of the championship.
“The Aprilias will be able to be competitive on this circuit because they manage to have good grip with these tyres. For me tomorrow a good result could be to be on the front row, but I think I can fight for pole position - reflected Bagnaia - I don't know, every time it's always difficult to predict who will be faster on Friday, because everyone uses different strategies for the tests. The Aprilias are certainly competitive, and I think the KTMs are too; as far as I'm concerned, if I can improve the last part of the corner entry a little, I can be faster."
Enea Bastianini: "It’s not working, I have to question myself and move more towards the Ducati"
If there is an air of confidence on the Piedmont side of the garage, on the Romagna side the faces are long. Enea Bastianini set the third-to-last time today in Buriram, falling back into a crisis that he seemed to be overcoming in the last few races.
“I struggled more than I thought right from the start: this morning I didn't have good feelings and in the afternoon, it went even worse - he candidly admitted - The first medium tyre on the rear didn't work, then the second time attack went well, but I took the yellow flag for Martin's crash, otherwise I could have been further ahead, probably not enough to get into Q2. I can't say I'm happy, I always have the same sensations, I'm struggling in corner entry and the situation is starting to get critical."
He can't deny feeling some concern.
“There is, because we keep trying to change, but it doesn't work - said the Beast - Maybe today we patched things up, but I can't be effective, or attack when entering corners. It was my strong point and the fact that I no longer have it worries me. I hope to invent something, obviously I must do a reset, question myself and try to learn from others to exploit the strong points of this bike. I will be the one who will have to move towards the bike."
Perhaps he could use a coach and GPOne's indiscretion of Poggiali's arrival next year comforts him.
“I've always got along well with Manuel, last year we did a great job together. I believe that in an official team you need a coach, sometimes it can be fundamental, to show you something interesting. It would be nice to have him on the team" was Enea's opinion.