Bagnaia now feels like "fully-fledged MotoGP rider"

Pramac Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia says his strong Andalusian Grand Prix weekend has made him feel like a “fully-fledged MotoGP rider”, after a technical issue cost him a maiden podium.

Bagnaia now feels like "fully-fledged MotoGP rider"

Bagnaia was the top Ducati runner in qualifying after securing his first front row start in third, and found himself in second spot after passing the struggling factory Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales mid-race. 

He then managed to open up a gap of 2.4 seconds over third place by lap 19 before being forced to pull out when his GP20 started smoking. 

Having gone well at the Spanish GP last week, Bagnaia’s form comes at an opportune time as Ducati is yet to finalise its line-ups at its works squad and Pramac for 2021.

Read Also:

Asked if his Andalusian GP performances could put him in the frame for the seat currently occupied by Andrea Dovizioso, Bagnaia said: “At the moment we are concentrating on going fast, and knowing that I was the first Ducati during the whole weekend has given me a lot of strength, but we think of [continuing] working as we did this weekend.  

“If the official [Ducati] team chance came, I would be very happy. But now I don't want to think too much about it. One nice thing about this weekend is that I felt like a fully-fledged MotoGP rider, really strong.”

Bagnaia dropped places off the line because he “was not a magician” at the start, and feels this cost him the chance to stick with runaway leader and eventual winner Fabio Quartararo.

“I saw from the riders that I was in front of that I was faster and that my pace was more similar to that of Quartararo’s,” Bagnaia added. “Given the situation, I tried to pass Jack [Miller] immediately, but I risked falling, so I took it more calmly.  

“When I started to see that the others were also starting to work hard and I had much more [pace], I slowly tried to pass them. Once in front of Vale, I saw that without doing anything more I could go away. 

“Then I started to feel that the bike was pulling back a bit, but after four laps it really went, they gave me the black-and-orange flag and I had to stop.  

“My pace was very similar to that of Fabio. In my opinion, obviously pushing enough, we would have been able to stay with him, then we have to see how much we [would have] pushed him.”

Additional reporting by Mark Bremer

Francesco Bagnaia, Pramac Racing bike smoking

Francesco Bagnaia, Pramac Racing bike smoking

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
Vinales "couldn't breathe" behind Rossi in Andalusian GP
Previous article

Vinales "couldn't breathe" behind Rossi in Andalusian GP

Next article

Nakagami feels growing Honda support after best finish

Nakagami feels growing Honda support after best finish
Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2022 Prime

Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2022

The 2022 MotoGP season was another hotly contested championship, with Francesco Bagnaia emerging as the title winner after the campaign went to the wire. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 best performers of the season

MotoGP
Nov 29, 2022
Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo? Prime

Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo?

Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo had a 91-point lead over rival Francesco Bagnaia after the German Grand Prix, a seemingly impregnable gap to overcome in the remaining 10 races. But as the Frenchman struggled for pace with his Yamaha, Bagnaia stormed back into contention and swept to Ducati's first riders' title since 2007

MotoGP
Nov 25, 2022
Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests Prime

Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests

After a run on Honda's 2023 prototype MotoGP bike, six-time champion Marc Marquez made his pessimism clear with his initial reaction. But the Japanese marque has made leadership changes behind closed doors - and a more representative bike promised for the Malaysia test in February could placate Marquez.

MotoGP
Nov 23, 2022
Why new MotoGP champion Bagnaia has a stronger character than it seems Prime

Why new MotoGP champion Bagnaia has a stronger character than it seems

While new MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia might not be the loudest rider on the grid, his calm exterior belies a steely backbone. His part in turning around Ducati's fortunes at the start of the year, when displeased with a new engine concept, shows the strength of his character.

MotoGP
Nov 16, 2022
Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough Prime

Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough

OPINION: Despite the superiority exhibited by the Ducati in 2022, the context in which Francesco Bagnaia became MotoGP world champion means that both the rider and the Italian marque merit the same recognition that the brand and Casey Stoner received after their 2007 title

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2022
Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending Prime

Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending

OPINION: MotoGP’s fifth last round showdown of the modern era delivered a tense finale despite the predictable outcome, as Francesco Bagnaia ended 15 years of pain for Ducati. But as emotions ran high for the Italian marque, a final victory for a departing Japanese rival tinged the campaign’s conclusion with sadness.

MotoGP
Nov 7, 2022
Why the 2023 MotoGP title battle has already begun Prime

Why the 2023 MotoGP title battle has already begun

Since Ducati announced the arrival of Enea Bastianini to its factory team for 2023, the staging of the four-time race winner has strained the atmosphere within the Italian manufacturer, which has raised its guard in anticipation of what may happen between him and championship favourite Francesco Bagnaia.

MotoGP
Nov 1, 2022
Why Yamaha has just six months to safeguard Quartararo's future Prime

Why Yamaha has just six months to safeguard Quartararo's future

Yamaha's decision to dispense pre-season with the 2022 engine it had intended to use due to lack of reliability, the promises of improvement to Fabio Quartararo and the advance with which the rider market moves leaves the Japanese brand with less than six months to prevent the Frenchman from starting to look for a way out

MotoGP
Oct 28, 2022