MotoGP Sepang: Bastianini ‘ready to fight’

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Enea Bastianini may be a long shot for 2022 MotoGP Champion but the Gresini rider is not giving up yet as he arrived at Sepang.

Bastianini has 42 points to claw back to fellow Ducati rider Pecco Bagnaia with just the Malaysian and Valencian Grand Prix left in the season. While the task may seem Herculean, mathematically at least, there’s still a glimmer of hope.

“My chance is very small but I’ll try to do my best,” the Italian admitted from the Sepang paddock on Thursday. “It will be important to be fast on Friday because qualifying is always key to MotoGP now, and if you start behind, it’s difficult. Also, at this track, it’s really hot, and the pressure in the tyre will come up, but I’ll try to close this championship in the top three because I think Aleix [Espargaro] is the closest and can be our target.

“I think Pecco has the potential because Ducati is so strong but also Pecco is really fast at this track but it depends also on Fabio [Quartararo] because he has to be motivated to try to win the title. I think we will see tomorrow his potential for the weekend.

“When I tried the ’21 bike during the test, I remember I was really excited because the bike was so strong and it was really beautiful to ride here,” he continued on his prospects for round 19. “The conditions are really difficult, also physically at the Malaysian GP. It will be really hard but I’m ready to fight with the other riders.

“I think it will be more difficult than the test because the other Ducati riders and the ’22 bikes made a good step after two or three races, and my results also depend on this but we are ready to start, and to close this season in the best mode possible.”

Bastianini proved his mettle last time out in Australia with a stunning comeback from 15th on the Phillip Island grid to fifth at the flag. The task, however, was made all the more difficult come lights out after his airbag delayed on lap two, dropping him to 20th before the work began in earnest.

“On the second lap, I had some bumps exiting the last corner and my airbag exploded,” the 24-year-old explained. “It was very difficult to do that lap. In any case, after that, my feeling was quite good. The choice to put the hard on the front was the correct one, I think, and I closed the gap on the last lap. It was possible to try and get onto the podium that Sunday but I’m really happy about my race because I have never had a good result at Phillip Island and it’s my first one. We will see what we can do next year, but I’m happy.”