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'Pecco' Bagnaia opened his account of Grand Prix victories at the legendary TT Circuit Assen, with a photo-finish win that took the Aspar Team back to the top step of the podium. Ever since his compatriot Nello Pagani took victory in the first World Championship Grand Prix at the 'Cathedral of Speed' in 1949, a multitude of riders have written their names into the history books at this iconic event. Jorge Martínez 'Aspar' himself managed it on five occasions between 1984 and 1988 and he proudly watched on as his team's rider Pecco repeated his own feat of taking his debut win there. It was truly a historic day for the rider, the team and the manufacturer.
Pecco, how were the few hours after the race? How did you celebrate?
"It was really nice, although I am still struggling to believe it. It was a great result, very important. It is a great satisfaction to take the Aspar Team to the top step after several years since they were last there. We celebrated at the circuit and then on Monday with everybody from the VR Riders Academy, all together at Misano. I also spoke with my family and friends, I called them all, and it was emotional for them. They have seen me grow up, put a lot of effort in for me and I think this has paid a large part of that back."
Mahindra make history
At what point did you think 'I can win this race'?
"I was aware of it during the race, I could see that I was very quick especially in the final part of the track. I slotted into third but I could go where I wanted. The race was difficult but on the last lap I knew I could do it, that if I was third into the final sector I would have the chance to pass them and win. The bike was perfect, we couldn't have done any better."
With just eight rounds gone of the season and ten still to go, how would you sum up the first half of the year?
"For me it has been a positive start, with three third places and now a win. It is just a shame that we lost so much ground in just two races - in Argentina and Barcelona – because at Montmeló we could have been fifth or sixth and Argentina could have been a similar result if it was dry. That way I would have been much closer to Navarro, for example."
We still have one race until we reach the halfway point and you already have more points than you managed all last season. What is your objective now for this championship?
"For this season we need to stay as consistent as we have been in the last few races. The objective from the start was to be in the top five in the championship so we need to keep hammering away over the next few races and make sure we keep seeing that chequered flag with as many points in the bag as possible. If we keep going like this maybe we can exceed our initial objective and aim for something better than a top five finish. The other target could be to finish as the top Italian."
What are your plans for the holidays?
"Nothing special: stay at home, by the sea, and relax. Two weeks before the races I will be focused on training and preparing - both for Germany and Austria. In the winter I might travel somewhere but not for now."
Highlights: Bagnaia takes maiden race win for Mahindra
5 years ago
Well I think this sums up my race... Was fighting for 1st before I made a mistake and went farming... Sorry to my team @redbull_ktm_ajo... Luckily still finished in 12th positions and got some points.