MotoGP World Champion Pecco Bagnaia has caused a stir by stating that he wants to see a bigger margin between factory and satellite teams in order to make races less chaotic in the opening laps.
The Ducati Lenovo Team rider made the comments in the aftermath of the 2023 French MotoGP, where he retained the lead of the overall standings but suffered a third main GP feature DNF in five races.
Though it was a collision with factory Aprilia rider Maverick Vinales that ended his race in Le Mans, Bagnaia says the closeness of the competition leads to smaller margins for error, saying he preferred the era of the so-called ‘aliens’.
“A rider behind you, that doesn’t have the potential, is looking to pass six riders in one lap. And it doesn’t work like this. Because we are all on the limit, looking for the maximum goal.
“And if I’m braking on the limit, especially in the first part of the race, it’s wrong to try and brake beyond this limit.
“If you look, the incidents are mainly in the first part of the races, because there is a lot of agitation. We should think about trying to improve this situation, because it’s not safe like this.
“One thing I think is that, from the first bike to the last, everyone can win. There is no longer a 6 or 7 tenths gap between the factory and satellite bikes.
“That was useful, honestly, because the ‘Fantastic 4’ [Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa] were born because they were the strongest, but they also had factory bikes.
“Meanwhile the others were further behind, because they didn’t have the potential, but they also didn’t have the same technical level.”
Referring to the level of competition as ‘extreme’, Bagnaia got his debut in MotoGP with the satellite Pramac Ducati team riding an ‘on-spec’ Ducati alongside Jack Miller, the first time Ducati had run four satellite bikes.
They also come despite Ducati currently dominating the grid with eight bikes and his closest rival being Marco Bezzecchi on the VR46 Racing Ducati.
“Now the level is extreme. With all the aerodynamics everything is on the limit. Every rider has a chance of winning. For example, Augusto Fernandez was fourth today, he’s a world champion but he’s also a rookie.
“I mean, the pace wasn’t that fast, apart from Bezzecchi. And he just did the pace we all expected. The others were slow and that keeps the group together.
“So in my opinion I’d like a bigger gap between the factory and satellite bikes. Or at least to find a solution to avoid these kind of incidents.”