MotoGP Silverstone: Bagnaia ‘thinking race by race, ‘expecting top five’

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Ducati Lenovo’s Pecco Bagnaia placed himself firmly back in the MotoGP title fight after a stunning win at Silverstone on Sunday.

Two races earlier, Bagnaia sat sixth in the standings and facing a seemingly-impossible 90-point deficit to Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo but with two victories on the bounce - and two difficult weekends for the reigning champion - the gap has been slashed to just 49 with the Italian back in the top three.

While Bagnaia shone on Sunday, the result was far from expected by the 25-year-old.

“I wasn’t thinking about a win today. I already said that today was difficult to win, so I was expecting a top five,” he admitted on Sunday evening. “But this morning, we found a good step in front with using the rear hard and then for the race we decided to use the medium front. I wasn’t happy about that choice, but was the only way possible to do the race because with the soft I was more in trouble with the grip in the braking.

“In the last part of the race, this medium front has helped me a lot because the rear grip was totally finished, so I was just using the front tyre.

“I just would like to say thanks to all the people around me, in the box, of my team, of Ducati, and at home because I was struggling a lot this weekend and with all their support I did a step in front. So I will like to put this win like one of my best ones because in a race week like this, that I was in trouble, win is always important. I’m very happy about that!”

Bagnaia admitting he was not totally on board with the tyre options is a story that’s played before. Valentino Rossi repeatedly mentioned last year how he spent Saturday evenings trying to convince his protégé to go in a different direction, with varying degrees of success. It seems even from afar, the pattern continues.

“Happen the same,” Bagnaia laughed. “He is never happy about my choice of the tyre. Also in Assen he said to me ‘I won with the wrong tyre!’ Yesterday he was saying to me try to use the medium and hard, and today I used the medium and hard and he was right! So I’m happy that he had helped me a lot this weekend.”

The turn around for the Italian in the past two races is stark, after two consecutive crashes. In fact his recent record is a literal ‘win it or bin it’ with four victories and three DNF’s since Barcelona and no podiums to his name at all in the opening five rounds.

“A big, big change,” Bagnaia acknowledged. “I just tried to understand what was wrong with me, the first part of the season and I tried to work this out this summer break. I don’t want to say that I improved myself on that but I think we are in a good way. So for sure today is one of the best days compare Sachsenring, that I was very angry.

“I was thinking to be more calm and I was crashing so I was not good in my mindset, I think. Also today, I was pushing like hell to try to win and try to do good result. Don’t make mistakes today was very important and I’m very happy that happen this, to win the race.”

While the improvements have been rewarding, Bagnaia remains cautious despite the second half of the season heading to tracks he’s proved strong at in the past.

“This one was the more critical for us because I was struggling always [at Silverstone]. A win here is very important. But like we improve a lot in the track where I was struggling last year doesn’t mean that maybe in a favourite track for us we are competitive. So let’s wait to arrive there and let’s see which one will be our opponent and try to finish the weekend the best way possible. I would like to think race by race and no more.”

Picture: GeeBee Images
Picture: GeeBee Images