Pecco Bagnaia says his victory in the Indonesian MotoGP was both ‘needed, deserved’ as he immediately bounced back to the summit of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship standings.
The Italian turned around what had been his most challenging weekend of the season to date to inherit victory from main title rival Jorge Martin, who sensationally crashed while more than three seconds ahead.
Coming just 24 hours after Bagnaia had ceded the overall points’ lead to Martin for the first time after labouring to eighth from 13th on the grid in the Sprint Race, the defending champion produced a more aggressive display in the full-length feature to climb ten positions to third in just three laps.
However, when Martin crashed up ahead, Bagnaia made short work of Maverick Vinales in front to grab a lead he’d protect to the flag for his tenth win (four Sprint, six full-length) and a regained overall lead by 18 points.
A timely return to prominence from Bagnaia, who had seen his once sizable advantage whittled down by an in-form Martin since the summer break, a cheeky hand to the ear gesture on the warm-down lap was explained as a response to critics over their rivalry.
“For me, it’s because sometimes people speak too much, it is better to wait a bit and then speak after everything. It was an important reason.
“I put this win, maybe more, to a similar level of Malaysia last year. I gave everything, to fight back from what happened on Saturday, we did an incredible job.
“In the race I just tried to do the maximum possible in the overtakes at the start, so when I saw I was third, I just wanted to catch Maverick as soon as possible so I could fight with Jorge, but I saw he was pushing a lot and the pace was really on the limit.
“On Saturday, the last thing I did when I turned off my phone was think it was important to do my maximum on Sunday.
“We needed it, we deserved it, so it’s a really great push for the rest of the races.”