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MotoGP Portimao: Bagnaia sceptical of Sprint critics, two full races ‘impossible’

Ducati Lenovo’s Pecco Bagnaia has reacted with scepticism that MotoGP should run two full length grand prix, rather than have a shorter sprint race, saying it would place ‘impossible’ demands on the riders.

Bagnaia made history becoming the first rider to take victory in the Sprint Race, which was run over 12 laps and featured a revised points’ structure down to ninth position.

Having drawn a mixed reaction from riders when it was announced last year, there were similar misgivings from some come the end of Saturday, largely around concerns the shorter distance will prompt more aggressive riding.


This theory was vindicated by a chaotic initial few revolutions that eliminated five riders in just three laps due to accidents.

It has prompted calls from some riders to consider lengthening the sprint race, but Bagnaia says he doesn’t agree, pointing out that some were complaining there wasn’t enough overtaking in 2022.

“Last year it was impossible to overtake because of the aerodynamics, but now it is a jungle with the same dynamics…?

“Sincerely no, I don’t agree,” Bagnaia commented. “Maybe Superbikes can do more races because the laps are less and they are softer, I don’t know, but for us it will be very demanding because we are very competitive and strong, so you have to use a lot of strength to be in front.”

While Bagnaia goes on to suggest a potential change to the qualifying method to an F1-style knockout format - thus eliminating the importance of getting a good time in Practice - he says the Sprint Race will take a bit of getting used to when it comes to being aggressive when challenging for a win or ninth place.

“The only change maybe we can ask is to have a similar F1 qualifying because to do another long race, a normal race distance on a Saturday is too much.

“I wasn’t behind so I don’t know but to overtake now you have to make some risks and be aggressive, but it is like this and you have to be prepared.

“The race on Saturday you have to approach differently, if you want to win, it’s 12 points, not the 25 of the Sunday. For sure, if you had to do an overtake, you have to be a bit aggressive.”

Bagnaia will be the sole Ducati Corse rider on the grid for Sunday’s main event after teammate Enea Bastianini broke his scapula in an accident on lap two.

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