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MotoGP, Bagnaia: “There’s a lot of grip, it’s difficult to understand what works and what doesn’t”

“I repeated the qualifying time without mounting the soft tire. My confidence level is at 8.” Bastianini: “A couple of days ago, I was sick. I want to work again on delivery and engine brake.”

MotoGP: Bagnaia: “There’s a lot of grip, it’s difficult to understand what works and what doesn’t”

Pecco Bagnaia started the Qatar tests from where he had finished those in Malaysia: 1st place in the standings. The world champion seems to be rather comfortable with the new GP24, and the time trial proved him right. His 1’52”040 is less than 3 tenths than the Losail track record, which he reached with the hard tire.

I didn’t think I could repeat the same time I had in qualifying in the GP without using the soft tire,” he said, almost surprised, at the end of the day. “I think the track has improved a lot in terms of grip, and it’s one of the best on the calendar. Even if you try to do your best, it’s difficult to understand what you’re feeling when there’s so much grip. The difference per lap between a new and a used tire is three or four tenths. It’s good for performance, but it becomes difficult to know if what you’re trying works better or not.”

Pecco was still able to clear his thoughts.

I think we’ve taken a step forward from Malaysia in terms of delivery. I tried the new hull again, and I had the same sensations as in Sepang. It has both strengths and  weaknesses compared to the old one. In general, I’m quite happy with the day,” he contemplated.

The new Desmosedici seems to have been born under a lucky star, better than the bikes that preceded it.

I don't know. It’s definitely better than the last bike in the winter tests,” Bagnaia replied with a smile. “The first test with the 2022 had been a complete disaster and, even last year, the first two and a half days of testing with the GP23 had gone wrong. The GP24 helps me a lot in braking, while I had struggled a lot in that area in the second part of 2023. So, we took a good step forward in braking and in speed. But I think this bike generates less grip. It’s a question of balance. Today we improved from this point of view, and we can do it again.”

At what level is the World Champion’s confidence from 1 to 10?

Right now, an eight, but we still have tomorrow and then the GP Friday. In Malaysia, I was a seven. I didn’t expect to be so fast today without pushing too hard. I’m happy, but I want to stay calm, take care of everything, and wait until tomorrow night when we finish,” he concluded.

Bastianini: “Just a few laps due to a virus. I want to work on the engine.”

His teammate, Enea Bastianini, wasn’t as explosive, and ended the day with an 8th time. But the rider from Rimini didn’t feel very good“I didn’t complete many laps because, a couple of days ago, I didn’t feel very good, I think because of a virus, and I had to take antibiotics. Now I'm a bit tired, but I feel better,” he explained. “I tried the solutions from Malaysia, and I gave practically the same comments, and we’re satisfied with the work carried out.”

The Beast still has some work on his to-do list he has to complete.

When exiting slow corners, the bike’s behavior when you  first touch of gas isn’t best, but we’ve already managed to improve compared to the first day in Sepang,” he observed. “Then we have to fix the engine brake because sometimes it doesn’t work as I’d like. But, in general, I’m happy with my pace. I was fast.”


Translated by Leila Myftija

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