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MotoGP Qatar: ‘I'm not a tester, I'm here to win’ - Bagnaia

Pecco Bagnaia’s 2022 MotoGP season got off to a frustrating start after the Ducati Lenovo rider finished the Qatar GP in the gravel.

Having already suffered a poor start, especially by the Bologna factory’s standards, last year’s runner up found himself fighting back from 16th in the opening laps, running a highest of ninth at mid-race distance before a collision with Jorge Martin’s Pramac saw them both out of the action.

“The crash was nothing,” Bagnaia said on Sunday evening. “I was recovering position but my speed was not so high and I was losing too much time in acceleration and we have to understand why. I was a bit late to entry on Jorge, but the braking was not too hard, was not a really hard brake. So has been quite strange to have this front locking in this moment but is like this. I have just to say sorry to Ducati, to Pramac and to Jorge first of all and just to focus on the next race.”


It had failed to be the strongest of weekend across the board for the Italian, with Bagnaia lining up ninth on the grid after a disappointing qualifying and running on the fringes of the top ten throughout practice. His issue, he explained, was the lack of time to adjust himself to his new, hybrid, Desmosedici.

“It’s strange because if we look at all the new Ducati, have started so bad,” Bagnaia said of the poor performance across the Ducati fleet - barring Enea Bastianini’s stunning work with the GP21.

“We have lost a lot of position. I was 16th turn three! So it was not the best start for sure. Then I started to push to recover the position but we were not ready at all to fight for the win today.

“Was too ambitious to think on the victory but we tried all to recover position. My pace was not so bad, was quite good thinking on what we have done this weekend. The most important thing will be to start from this and don’t touch any more anything on the bike because I really need to be more concentrating on me. To be more thinking on my riding style and to have again the same feeling of last year and the same result of last year. I know that we have the possibility to win races but from now we have just to think on me and this will be the key to be in front again.

“We finished our work in FP3, and this is not possible for me, is not great,” he continued. “My feeling was back in FP4 but just because we decided and I find it again my feeling with the bike. So from that point we never touched again the bike till this morning when I was riding and I was feeling that I was not ready for the race - I was a bit faster but the electronics and the setting of the bike was not good for the grip and for the track. So we have done something for the race but we were behind.

“Considering our pace of yesterday, what we were doing during this race was already good because I was recovering and quite fast. Not like the first obviously but I was quite fast. It’s clear that the bike last year, that were winning all the last races, today have won because was already very competitive. So Enea from his first day of test started just to put fuel in the bike and riding. We were too much concentrating on developing and in my part, from that point we will never touch again the bike and just ride.

“From the first day of test, I never ride with the same bike for two sessions in a row.

“So my feeling was a mix of feelings because I was discovering things during the race again. This is something unacceptable for me. I have to feel more on my riding style. I need to be more focused on my riding style to adapt better and to work for the track because from the first day of tests till the FP3 we never work to adapt my riding style to the track or to the bike. So is something that you will arrive to the race not ready, and this was the situation.”

While 2022 brings Bagnaia’s second year in factory colours, the pandemic and resulting development freeze brought a different way of working during the previous season. With an intense test schedule rolled out, for the two Lenovo riders especially, throughout Jerez, Sepang and Mandalika.

“In the past was not like this,” the 25-year-old continued. “You have a satellite team, independent team that work more on that thing. But okay, in any case, I’m not a tester. I’m here to win and I’m here to concentrate on riding in the best way possible.

“Looking at the test, we only had five days of test. So I think that we have to test that thing just in the test not during a week race weekend and if we decide to work like this is obvious that will be more difficult to reach result like last year. I really need to be concentrating on adapt my riding style to the bike because in this moment, I feel again now like last year, but I was not ready with the bike to the race. The setting was not okay for the track. The electronics was not okay for the track. We were behind on that. In any case, I know that the task of factory rider is to work but if we want to win, we have to be more concentrated during the race weekend on me.”


Going forward, Bagnaia is adamant things need to change.

“I just asked to Gigi to work like we did last year,” he explained. “That was in Austria we decided a setting and from that moment I didn’t touch anything on the bike. I was just thinking on me.

“I think that you can give to us something new that is more powerful, faster, better, but if you don’t have time to adapt to it, you can’t go faster because it’s something new.

“In this moment what I need is to adapt better the bike on me to make possible that I can be faster and good on the race. Because the difference between me and Enea during the first day of test till now was that, every session I changed something, I tested something and he just put fuel in the bike and ride it. If you want to win, you need a stable situation and in this moment is what I need.

“I think that this setup, this spec is better than the old one but was better just from FP4,” he said, reflecting on his potential compared to the race winner. “The problem is that I was needing to do more laps with it and I was too late.


“I found the best way too late and I was not ready for the race.

“We already know that the ‘21 is better in this moment, not better but more in shape. Because was the winning bike of the last races and was the best combination of things about Ducati. Now we are working with a different thing, a new thing that still needs more work but considering from where we have started this weekend and considering my pace and my riding style in the race, we did a good step in front.

“I was not ready to fight for the win but I was ready to fight for the positions more in front. For sure we have to start from that point and to work on me from that point. So in this moment we don’t have to test anymore, from now we can be more concentrate on the setting and on the riding style.”

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