Ducati’s new star continued to shine in Jerez as Pecco Bagnaia secured MotoGP free practice honours for the second consecutive Friday.
The Italian set the session-topping 1’37.209 time on his penultimate lap of the opening day, having spent the majority of the session working on rear grip and race set-up, with the 24-year-old attributing his early success to his alternative riding style compared to his fellow Ducatis - teammate Jack Miller and Pramac’s Johann Zarco concluded Friday in 12th and ninth respectively.
“It’s a good thing that in this track we are going fast because it’s not very suitable for our bike,” explained Bagnaia from Jerez.
“My feeling with the front is very, very good and we are just working on the rear because the grip is not so high. We have to manage better the tyres but at the moment I’m very happy” he continued.
“We already know that the time attacks for me are not a problem because it’s something that I really like to do. We have just to continue working on the pace because I think that we are missing a bit. Franky today was very, very strong so we have to work to be more close to him. We need just three-tenths more, but we are happy at the moment and a difference that I’m making, compared to the other two Ducatis, is that I can brake very, very hard, and I can maybe turn more the bike.
“Sincerely, I don’t know why but looking at the data it looks like I can stop better the bike, and the speed that I use to enter the corners helps me to turn the bike, so, in this moment, this is the key. Also we see that all the riders in Ducati have a similar riding style and I have a different one so, in this moment in a track like this, my one is maybe working a bit better. Let’s wait for circuits more normal for Ducati to see the differences, but at the moment, my riding style is working very good on this bike.”
Asked if he thought this weekend could provide Ducati’s first opportunity to win at Jerez since 2006, the enthusiastic Italian replied “I hope!” before continuing “let’s wait and see but we have to continue working like this. Today we did a great step in front and I think that we are working in a good way, but the conditions will change tomorrow for sure, because the grip will be more. So, let’s wait for tomorrow but at the moment we are in good shape and we are in a good way.
“Everybody knows this track very well, we are racing here a long time. I started racing here in 2011, so I know very well this track, and it’s not so long, so the distance and the gap, we are all very close in this track. You can make the difference just being more smart with the tyres and being more constant is possible during the race.
“For sure qualifying will be very, very important” he explained “because it’s very difficult to overtake in this track, so will be very important to start in the first two rows. I would like to start from the first one, because I know that my pace is already good, but I have to work more. Starting on the first row, for sure, makes already 40% of the race, so will be very important.”