3 years ago
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“I had been waiting for this podium a while so I am very happy and I am sure that from now on everything will come more easily”
Pecco Bagnaia's first podium has been on the cards since the start of the 2015 season. The Mapfre Team Mahindra rider put together an exemplary preseason and he has made a strong start to the campaign. The opening round in Losail saw him narrowly miss out on a champagne start and after coming of age in January he was keen to savour those bubbles as soon as possible. He needn't have worried too much because, now in his third season as a Moto3 World Championship rider, with the Mapfre Team Mahindra he has the tools to do the job and sooner or later Pecco Bagnaia was always going to be a frontrunner in this class. In the fifth round at Le Mans he finally broke his duck and that memorable third place promises to be the first of many podium finishes.
Finally you have been able to step onto the podium in Moto3…
Yes, I am delighted with my first podium. I had been waiting a while so I am very happy and I am sure that from now on everything will come more easily. It is a really important result for us because the team and Mahindra have been working so hard for a long time. All that effort was rewarded last Sunday. We have done a good job from the start of the season and this first podium could have easily happened at Losail or Austin. Luckily we kept our objective within sight and here is our reward.
Now that you have made the step up, do you think it will be easier to do it again?
For sure. The first time is always the hardest but once you get used to it, it comes easier. Let's say it's a bit like when you kiss a girl for the first time! [laughs].
What do you remember about the race on Sunday?
The pace was quite high and that made it a tough race, we had to fight hard to maintain our position. There was quite a large group at the front and in the beginning I tried to get myself to the front, but I soon realised it was more useful to tuck in and wait to play my cards at the end. When I saw that Romano and Enea were escaping I knew I had to push hard to stay with them if I wanted to make sure of that podium. It wasn't just my first podium at Le Mans but also my first front row, so it was a really complete weekend.
What did your first podium feel like?
I don't know how to put it into words. It is wonderful, inexplicable. I think I will have a smile on my face for a few days yet.
Was it how you expected?
I didn't expect it to be this hard. I suppose when I dreamt about it I didn't have to fight so much. But the fact it came after such an intense battle makes it all the more special.
You have been hard-working and incisive over the opening few rounds of the season. Is this what was missing?
Yes, like I said before, the team, Mahindra and myself have all been working really hard, we have a perfect relationship and sooner or later that effort was sure to pay off. In my opinion this first podium could have come sooner but luck wasn't on our side. At Le Mans we were finally able to make it and now we have to keep going in the same way.
What is the secret to keeping your podium form up?
There is no secret, just hard work. Mahindra are helping us to improve at every race but we can't afford to stop. We have to be even more competitive and there are areas where we need to improve, which Mahindra know about. For example, we are working to try and find some more power.
You turned eighteen years of age in January and you certainly seem to have matured in 2015...
It was important for me to make some changes in my life. The fact I have moved out to live on my own has been a big thing. I have had to take responsibility for myself, without my family around, so I have had to mature. I recently moved to Pesaro and now I train every day with the other riders at the VR46 Academy. I think Sunday's result, with the win for Fenati and my third place, shows that the work being done there is correct. On top of that the Mapfre Team Mahindra are helping me to evolve as a rider and a person. For me there are two major factors involved; on one hand we are like a huge family but at the same time the way we work is very professional. The team always provide me with a bike with the best possible set-up. I feel loved and listened to, which is fundamental to create strength and confidence.
Are you also helped by the harmony within the Mapfre Team Mahindra?
Of course. There is a lot of respect between Jorge, Juanfran and myself and even though we are rivals on the track we are friends as soon as we take off our helmets. It helps that we can push each other to improve every day.
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