Ducati Lenovo’s Pecco Bagnaia is looking for redemption in Thailand after a last-lap disaster at Motegi.
With title-rival Fabio Quartararo the only member of the leading trio to score points last time out, Bagnaia is pushing for a strong Round 17 - the Italian having crashed out on the wheels of the series leader in the battle for a somewhat lacklustre eighth.
“I’m still thinking and analysing everything,” Bagnaia said of the Japanese race. “We have to understand why I was struggling on acceleration and why I was losing time to other bikes.
“I got stuck behind Pol Espargaro for a lot of laps and it was impossible to overtake him so we had to understand that and maybe this weekend we’ll find something that will help us.
“In any case, the weekend had been quite strange for the conditions, for everything, for being on wet I was struggling so much when in the past I was competitive, so we have to understand. I wasn’t able to push like I wanted because I was behind somebody who was slower on the braking, and braking less than me, so I got stuck.
“If I think about the crash, the objective was just to get in front of Fabio, okay it was one more point, but I think it was too ambitious in that moment because I was trying to overtake from too far. The only lucky thing was I didn’t touch him in the crash, this was the only positive.
“Compared to last year the only thing I have changed is the balance of our bike, so maybe for that reason I’m struggling more,” he continued. “The difficult thing is that we haven’t had too many wet sessions this year, so I didn’t have the feeling in Japan. I was not feeling the tyres and when I’m in this situation, I’m struggling more.
“I think we have some good ideas to help me feel more, the movement, the transfer of weight so it will be better for sure [this weekend].
“Sector one for Ducati is good,” Bagnaia said, turning his attention to the Buriram layout. “We have just one corner and straight, so it’s a good sector. Sector three is our weak point. In 2019 we were losing a lot of time compared to Fabio, and Fabio was the only fast one there. The new fairing will help us on that part of the track.
“For sure the improvement that the tyres have made on wet are so big and is helpful for us,” the Italian said of Michelin’s recent performance. “Also the tracks now have more potential with the grip, in some tracks. The spin that we have on the straight is coming also from the overheating, this is very difficult to manage on wet because the soft tyre is very soft, the medium tyres have less grip so it’s very difficult to choose. But I think that in 2019, where it was wet in FP3, we all used medium/medium and was quite good but I don’t sincerely remember well. Maybe this track have not the same grip level of Japan but surely in a situation of race, when you are stuck behind someone, is more difficult than the sessions. In this track looks like the aquaplaning will be less, the water on track will be less so maybe it’s better.”