Pecco Bagnaia has been running under the radar during preseason MotoGP testing as the Ducati Lenovo rider sits comfortably mid-table.
Choosing to concentrate his focus on set up and race pace with the Desmosedici GP22 across the two days so far at Mandalika, the Italian, who is hotly tipped as one of the forthcoming season’s title challengers, was less than half a second adrift of Luca Marini’s benchmark on Saturday despite a less than favourable tyre option.
“I’m happy, I think we did a really good job today,” Bagnaia said as the action drew to a close on day two in Indonesia. “We were concentrating on doing more laps possible with used tyres and the pace was very constant and this was our more important thing today. Also the things we tried today were good so we did another step in front, and we also tried a time attack in the last run, but was not a perfect lap.
“We decided to use a soft front tyre, that was okay but not better than the hard in terms of time attack,” he explained further of his 1’31.725 effort at the close of play which placed him tenth overall. “We prefer to use the soft to have more hard tomorrow to do more laps with the correct tyre and in any case, I’m quite happy because with a tyre that I don’t like we did a good job.
“Finally, I think tomorrow we will do another step in front but we are more close. We close a lot the gap compared to the fastest rider that I think in this moment are the Honda riders. They are doing a good job, and we are very close to them. So I’m happy.
“I feel that today we were one of the strongest with the pace because this morning we work with the medium and with the medium I was doing ‘32.7, ‘32.8, ‘32.7 like this and was good the pace.
“This afternoon with more temperature and with the soft we managed to do 30 laps and the last lap was two-tenths slower than the fastest lap. So we were working on being more constant as possible and we are very competitive. I think the only two that did my same work where [Marc] Marquez and [Joan] Mir today, maybe also Pol Espargaro. We just focus on doing laps with used tyres. I see that other riders have done two or three time attacks today. Was not our strategy, we prefer to work more with used tyres than the other tyres but my pace was very strong.”
While Bagnaia is confident of the testing programme undertaken so far, he is aware there is much more to come from the new Ducati.
“We are doing great steps every day, also today we did another one,” he confirmed.
“Not at 100 per cent of the potential of this bike because I think that the potential is higher but we found something good and we are now at 80 per cent of the max potential of this bike I think.
“We still have work to do. The worst thing is that we have just one more day of test and looks that can rain tomorrow so will not be easy to define a good base to start the season but with the work done these days I think we find something good and can help us in Qatar. In this moment the potential is good, but still we need something more.
“For sure we still have to adapt better the electronics to this engine, this bike. So we are working on that area, on the progression and of the first touch of gas so this is the main thing we are working on.”