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MotoGP, Bagnaia: “Thanks to the Sprint I understood how to go faster with the GP24”

“I attacked from the first laps because I knew I had the speed and potential to maintain a gap with my rivals. Winning is always fantastic, but the most important thing was to understand the bike with used tyres."

MotoGP: Bagnaia: “Thanks to the Sprint I understood how to go faster with the GP24”

Between Friday's problems and fourth place in the Sprint, Francesco Bagnaia's first weekend of the year didn't get off to the best start. As he accustomed us several times last season, however, the two-time world champion completely reversed the situation on Sunday, taking the win in the Qatar GP and the top of the world championship standings, dominating from the first to the last lap of the race.

“It was very important to change the strategy a bit in the first laps compared to yesterday. I tried to be a bit more aggressive, because I knew that my performance and my potential were good enough to allow me to manage a gap if I was in the lead already in the first laps" said Pecco, explaining his race strategy: “I wanted to attack in the first laps to try to be in front, with clean air. Yesterday, when I was behind, I did two laps in 1'52.0 and 1'52.1 and after those two laps I started having problems with the rear tyre. I had to be smoother and calmer with the rear and we understood this thanks to the Sprint. It's not the first time we've kept a pace similar to that of the Sprint but without having problems with the tyres. We need to think about it in view of the next races."

Thanks to the experience gained in the short race, and the work of the Lenovo Ducati team, the Italian managed to leave behind the problems of chatter and overheating of the rear tyre suffered on Saturday.

“Yesterday's Sprint was certainly a good lesson in changing the approach with which to obtain performance with the new bike and it worked. I'm happy because we were able to immediately understand how to improve the situation and this gives me a lot of motivation ahead of the next race in Portimao. I have to thank my team because they worked so hard between last night and this morning to improve the set-up a bit for the race. This also worked and overall it was the best way to start the year - said Pecco - I rode differently and found the performance to be slightly different and it worked for the vibrations, because today I only felt them slightly in a corner in the last two laps. I worked well and maybe in Portimao we won't have this kind of problem because it's a track with completely different grip, but we know perfectly well which direction to go in case it happens again."

Moreover, not even yesterday did the Italian seem to be worried about the situation.

“I was calm because I knew our potential and I knew I had exaggerated a bit in the first laps of the Sprint, but when you start from the back, unfortunately sometimes you struggle more. Yesterday I lacked inspiration a bit, otherwise it could have been a race similar to this one. We managed the tyre pressure better and did everything a bit better. It was the first race weekend, the first time we found ourselves in a similar situation and we had to study everything" underlined Bagnaia, who managed to maintain concentration and consistency during the race despite the pressure from Binder, who shadowed him throughout.

“The bike had the potential to go faster and lap in 1'52.1, but it wouldn't have been useful because a lap like that could have compromised everything - he explained - For this reason I simply tried to be as consistent as possible and every time I saw that Brad was gaining two or three tenths I would lower the next lap by a few tenths to slightly reopen the gap. I tried to manage the rear tyre as best as possible when entering the corner because this way it was easier to manage the gap and it worked perfectly."

The performances of Binder and the KTM did not surprise the Ducati rider, who has already begun to get an idea of this season's form factor.

“They were strong. They had been working on the race pace since the tests and I expected they would go like this. Without his duel with Martin, perhaps I would have pushed more laps to go further, but in my opinion our pace was quite the same, even if we had a bit more - he declared - In my opinion the values on the track will be seen after two or three races, because Portimao and Austin are circuits that give a good idea of the values. We'll see, but I'm convinced that Ducati, KTM and Aprilia will always be in the game. Today I don't know what happened to Aprilia, which was missing a bit, but we have seen that there can be ups and downs like this."

Then speaking about Marc Marquez he added: “He certainly did an excellent job and finished fourth. It's Marc Marquez, eight-time world champion, so I expected he would be competitive. I don't know if he will be a title contender, but he will certainly be one of the rivals. We'll see".

With today's success Pecco has reached Barry Sheene in terms of number of victories in the premier class. “It seems like a great compliment to me,” he said, before describing how important it was for him to start the year with a win: “It's very important for the points and the championship but it wasn't absolutely fundamental, because the season is very long and we still have 40 races. Sometimes you risk a bit too much to win, so it was important for motivation in view of the next races, but the fundamental thing was to be able to understand the bike better with used tyres, because in the tests in Malaysia and here the grip level was so high that it was difficult to have a tyre drop after 20 laps. This was the first time we had these kinds of sensations and it was important to be able to understand them. It's always fantastic and important to win, but I'm happier for having understood how to perform with this bike."


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