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MotoGP, Bagnaia: "I love Portimão. It's a track where the rider makes a difference."

"Having renewed with Ducati doesn't take the pressure off. I always want to win. Aldeguer will do well. Alonso is special. They work very well with young riders in Spain."

MotoGP: Bagnaia:

Bagnaia and Portimão have a special relationship. Last year, the championship began in Portugal, and Pecco scored a double win on this circuit. This time, he's there leading the championship and with every chance for a repeat. "I love this track. It's a mix between Mugello and the Sachsenring. I really like riding here,"  the world champion said. "Last year, in Portimão, it was a perfect start to the season. But, in the end, so was the one in Qatar. I'm confident because I think the GP24 will be able to be more competitive in some parts of the circuit, and I'm looking forward to the weekend."

The ingredients for stacking up points are all there, and Pecco is obviously the favorite. But why does he like Portimão so much? "Because the rider can make more of a difference on this track," he responded. "There are many fast corners. Only two or three are slow. It all depends more on your sensations than on the set-up. Also, I don't think it's that difficult to overtake here. In 2022, I started last and finished  eighth. I had overtaken even last year. Since there are no long straights, you're not bothered by the slipstream when braking."

Once he finished discussing the (many) merits and (few) demerits of the Alagarve Autodrome, he started on the new Ducati.

"I think the GP24 is better for my riding style," Bagnaia explained. "I adapted quickly to the new Desmosedici, because it gives me something I lacked on the GP23. I'm not talking about big differences in terms of lap time, but we'll only see its full potential later in the season."

One doubt is whether Pecco can forget his "Black Fridays". On the 2023 bike, he often struggled to find the ideal set-up. "My difficulties in Qatar on the first day of practice were caused by something else. I had some technical problems. I couldn't work normally," he stressed. "But, like I said, what makes the difference here are the rider's sensations, and I hope everything goes well tomorrow.

That's the near future. But, in the paddock, the 2025 riders market is already holding court. A topic that doesn't involve Bagnaia, thanks to his recent renewal with Ducati. "Both of us wanted it. The pressure is the same because every rider just wants to be first," he explained. "But you have one less thing to think about, and you can focus on giving it your best."

Meanwhile, Aldeguer also joined the Ducati family. "Fermin is one of the fastest riders of his generation. He did fantastic things at the end of last year." Pecco promoted him. "He impressed me at Phillip Island, when he did a time in qualifying that would've looked good in the MotoGP just a few years ago. If he keeps calm and takes it one step at at time, he could do well. He has the potential."

The world champion works well with young riders, and there's one who  mpressed him in the Moto3. "Alonso. I've been following him since before he came to the World Championship," he said. "Maybe not everyone noticed what he did in Qatar, when he went from seventh to first in the last lap. It was something special. He was faster than everyone, and he could've broken away. But, instead, he managed the race at his best."

The Spanish school is thriving. "They do a great job with young riders," the world champion acknowledged. "They have great tracks. Many participants in the national championships. I had also gone to race in the CEV because the competition was higher there."


Translated by Leila Myftija

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