MotoGP Misano II: Bagnaia’s bet on hard front ‘was a good choice’| Christina Bulpett | MotoGP
Pecco Bagnaia looked to be inching closer to extending the MotoGP title fight and replicating his strong Misano win on Sunday, but turn 15 had other ideas.
The Ducati Lenovo team suffered a double heartbreak in the Emilia Romagna GP when Bagnaia replicated the fourth-lap fall of teammate Jack Miller, with just five remaining of the 27-lap race he had spent the entirety in control of.
The 24-year-old was in commanding form once again at his beloved local circuit, securing his fourth consecutive pole position and running strongly at the front from the outset.
With Miller down in the early stages it was Marc Marquez alone who could challenge the Desmosedici, and challenge he did. The pair were inseparable for almost 19 laps before the cooling temperatures caught the number 63 out at the penultimate turn. His double home win, and hopes of taking the championship fight on to Portimao, skittling through the gravel trap, much to the desolation of the supporting fans.
“We had this possibility,” Bagnaia said on Sunday, more upbeat than expected after his disappointment. “We tried all to achieve this win and to keep open the championship. I tried all. I pushed every lap.
“We bet to use the hard front and was a good choice, but the problem was that I just needed to push every single lap because one lap without pushing was too cold the front and was easier to crash. But in any case, we did the maximum. We were fighting to win again, we were very, very strong and competitive so I’m happy about my performance of today.
“For sure I’m a bit frustrated about the result because I think that we were deserving more. We just try to be always more competitive, and for the next year we are for sure in a good way.
“I told Fabio that he deserved this title. For sure he was the one that was deserving more this title. So, I’m happy for him. Last year, he was in my situation, because was the first time he was winning and like this, he committed errors in the last part of the season. I was in this situation now, this year, and for the next year I think we will arrive more prepared.
“The thing is that last year I finished 16th on the championship, and apart from two races, I was quite behind,” he continued. “So I think that this year was a year not to win the championship, but to learn. Everything was coming better compare last year, so I feel great. I feel incredible with the team and with the bike so we did a good job and we have to be happy because now we are second in the championship.
“I don’t think that we have to be angry to have lost this championship. Just because was not our first objective, this year. I learned a lot in the last five races. I’m always at the top, fighting for the win so this is an incredible step in front we did compared to the start of the season and we have to be happy about that.
“I think that we lost the championship in Mugello, when I crashed that I was in front, but I was not so concentrate for what was happening,” he admitted, when reflecting on his 2021 season. “In Austria one when I take this tyre that was not working. Silverstone, that I take another tyre that was not working. So, I lost this championship in three races. But in any case, is not correct to think in this way. I lost the championship, and nothing, for next year for sure I will learn from this error, from these mistakes. I will try to be always at the top, like the last four races that with this step in front we did, I’m sure that we will arrive more prepared.”
With the crash coming in the latter part of the race, and just as Marquez had chosen to relax the pressure he was pushing on the Ducati ahead, Bagnaia was asked if it was maybe a result of a lack of concentration, or merely the temperatures dropping as the afternoon drew on?
“For sure was not because I lose concentration!” he affirmed. “I was pushing. Today was all winning or gravel and I tried all to achieve this win and nothing, I crash.
“The tyre choice was, I think good, because this was the only one that was helping me on the braking, and medium for me was worse than the soft. Soft was already on the limit, yesterday and this morning, so the hard [front] was the correct choice. The only thing was, that with the hard you just need to push every single lap like hell to let be hot the tyre. This lap maybe I brake a little early in the turn eight.
“What I just want to say is that we worked a lot. Was difficult this weekend, the pace was stronger than five weeks ago. So, we have to be happy about this but for sure, we are frustrated in this moment. But is something that we have to be happy because today we demonstrated we were on top again.
“Sincerely, I was just trying to be more constant as possible, because I was knowing that with the medium [rear] in the last laps, I was more competitive than the rider with a soft, so I just tried to push. I was seeing that Marc was behind, but I was also knowing that my potential was higher. So was a pressure but not like Aragon or last time here.
“Is incredible!” he exclaimed of the dominant support he received around the Marco Simoncelli Circuit. “That’s changed a lot this year. I appreciate a lot these type of things and I just say thanks to all the fans coming here and all the people here, screaming my name. Also when I crashed I was hearing that all the circuit was screaming my name. I was trying to let them enjoy more, but I crashed so I’m sorry! But was very nice to see and very emotional.
“I think that every person think that the Ducati is the best one. The fast one. The most competitive. But I think is a Yamaha that win the championship!
“We have worked a lot, our bike now is very competitive, for sure is very strong on the straight, but still we have work to do. The step in front we did this year is incredible and the bike is incredible. So for next year with the tips of this year, I’m sure that next will be very, very competitive and can become the bike to beat.”