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Bagnaia: “Probably the best of my life!”

Bagnaia: “Probably the best of my life!”

A spirited performance saw Francesco Bagnaia take to the podium for the second time in his career with third in Qatar.

Beginning down in 12th, Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia was able to use the frantic opening laps of the Moto3™ World Championship race to pull himself inside the top five. The Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar saw the new Mahindra MGP3O make its race debut, Pecco and his Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3 working hard throughout the weekend to eliminate the few remaining teething problems. But the new bike demonstrated itself as a clear improvement over the old model, Bagnaia able to sustain his podium challenge unlike in 2015 when he dropped to ninth at the end. At no stage was it an easy race, the Moto3™ riders not taking the first race of the season easy as evidenced by a large tyre mark on Bagnaia's leathers.

Bagnaia would eventually finish in third and only 0.148s away from Mahindra’s first victory, a positive first step in the year. The Mahindra still seems to struggle for top end speed, Bagnaia averaging 233.2km/h while Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) topped the average speed charts with an impressive 239.2km/h. Struggling to keep up on the straights forced the Italian to work harder through the corners, destroying his rear tyre as a result. No doubt that once the World Championship rolls around to tighter circuits such as the Sachsenring, Bagnaia and his Mahindra will be challenging for even higher positions.

Francesco Bagnaia: “Today was a really difficult race but probably the best of my life! I had to push almost beyond the limit in every corner for eighteen laps. Over the first few laps I was losing a bit to the others because I was lacking power coming out of turn ten and the last turn. I had to take a lot of risks on the brakes to recover the ground I had lost in the straight. I worked the rear tyre so hard that there was barely any grip left at the end of the race. We knew we would have this issue here but we have given our maximum over the past two days to find a better set-up and that is what allowed us to fight for the podium today. Thanks to the work done by the team I was able to brake really hard and carry a lot of corner speed. The new fairing also gave us a boost and allowed me to stick with the group, I don't think it would have been possible otherwise. It was really important for us to make the most of the slipstreams and I gave it everything I had to be at the front, so this podium gives us an enormous amount of satisfaction.”

Moto3, 2016, COMMERCIAL BANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, RAC, Francesco Bagnaia, Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra Team

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