Sepang is the ring in which Bagnaia and Martin began to face each other today, each with his own style. Jorge doing magic on the flying lap, Pecco building his performance with patience. The 2nd time of the Spaniard and the 8th of the Italian on Friday say little, except that they are both in Q2 and that they are ready to go up against each other. Today, even more than the position in the standings, sensations are precious and Bagnaia, in this sense, can breathe a sigh of relief.
“In terms of race pace we were very fast, in view of the race Jorge and I are the ones who are fastest, but Alex Marquez is also going quite well, especially on the flying lap – was Pecco's assessment - At the moment it's the three of us, but it's always difficult to say, Binder also improved a lot during the day. I missed the second time attack, when I took the yellow flag, otherwise I could have been closer to Jorge, in the top 3. It would have helped to be among the fastest straight away, but I'm really happy with my sensations on the bike, it was some time I hadn't had them since the beginning of Friday. Tomorrow it will be fundamental to get onto the front row, on this track it doesn't make a big difference to be on the second row, but that is the maximum objective to achieve."
How are you facing up to this weekend?
“On the attack, as always. I'm happy because it's the first Friday in which I haven't asked my team for anything different for Saturday and it hasn't happened in a long time, maybe it hasn't happened to me since before Barcelona. In Thailand I was also among the top 10 on Friday, but I didn't have these sensations, this pace. I have to take another step forward, but in my riding, not on the bike."
The Austrian GP was the last one you dominated, are you at that level?
“I had a clear advantage in terms of performance that weekend. This track is different, but usually I'm fast on the pace. Martin is stronger on the flying lap, he took a step forward compared to me after Barcelona and I have to get back to my level, in Qatar and Valencia it will be important."
Martin said that it will be fundamental to be at the top of the championship after Qatar, do you agree?
“I think it's always better to be at the front, it would be fine for me to be here, in Qatar and in Valencia (laughs)”.
Do you like this season finale better or last year's?
“This one because it is more dynamic. Last year I was fighting with Quartararo who was in a very difficult moment, he wasn't able to have the performances he would have wanted, while I was very strong. It was a different situation, Jorge and I have the same bike, the same material and we can look at each other's data: everything is much more level."
Martin said he felt a little stiff this morning, can you ride with a clear mind?
“It's not the time to freeze (laughs). Last year it happened to me in Valencia, at the last race, but I don't think the pressure will limit it."
How did you see Bautista today?
“MotoGP is the pinnacle of motorcycling, Alvaro is here to have fun and he knew very well that it wouldn't be easy, in fact yesterday we all said that if he got into the top 10 he could consider himself very happy. The weekend is still long, he will improve more, but for the pace we have in MotoGP you have to be fast straight away, I saw that in SBK they have completely different strategies and he's not used to it."
Have you ever spoken to each other?
"It seems to me that he wants to mind his own business, he came here to have fun and he is definitely doing it because riding these bikes is something fantastic."
In your opinion, compared to SBK, what changes more: the riding style or all the things you have to do while riding?
“It's difficult to say, there are many differences: the level of the riders, the level of the bikes, the things that need to be done, the Michelins instead of the Pirellis. It's complicated".
Bastianini is continuing to struggle.
“I think Enea has missed the right moment to understand the bike, the first races in which you don't push to the maximum. Now he is struggling for this reason, he has a riding style where he enters corners very quickly and in my opinion the GP23 is not helping him much in this sense."