Pramac Racing’s Francesco Bagnaia has admitted he “can’t be angry” that a maiden MotoGP™ rostrum went agonisingly astray at the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucia.
The MotoGP™ sophomore was in a comfortable second place before engine trouble hit his Desmosedici GP20, forcing Bagnaia to retire from the race on Lap 20 of 25. Despite the heart-breaking end, the 2018 Moto2™ World Champion wasn’t too disappointed when reviewing the race. Why? Well, throughout both weekends in Jerez, Bagnaia was – for the most part – the lead Ducati rider.
The Italian qualified as the top Ducati with a fourth and then a first front row start in third in Jerez, with the Andalucia race seeing Bagnaia impressive massively. The Pramac Racing man picked off teammate Jack Miller before getting the better of Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), with a familiar face then up ahead – Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). Bagnaia didn’t waste much time getting past his VR46 Academy boss and then looked incredibly comfortable in second, before disaster struck.
“Looking at our objective, I can't be angry,” reacted Bagnaia. “We can't see the points but this year we already know it's important for me to gain experience and from last week, I've made a great step with the bike and with the pace. We only concentrated with riding on used tyres and in the race I think I was one of the strongest, my pace was very similar to Fabio's pace. I was trying to push but in any case I felt there was a problem.
“I just have to be happy about this weekend because we have demonstrated that we were the top Ducati, so this is very important - also for the future. let's see if we can do the same in Brno, but I trust we are strong and fast, we are working very well. Brno is a track that is more suitable for the bike and for me, so let's see what happens but I'm very sure we can also fight for the top positions there.”
It was a performance that will have done Bagnaia’s confidence the world of good, and it’s a performance that must have caught the eye of the Bologna factory too. The seat next to Miller in the Ducati Team for 2021 is still yet to be confirmed, with Bagnaia surely a leading contender if Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati can’t come to an agreement.
“I hope, but at the moment I'm just trying to be fast like this weekend,” answered Bagnaia, in response to being asked about whether his performance shows he’s ready to make the step to the factory outfit. “We come back home and we will continue the preparation like I did for this weekend. But I'm sure if we continue this way, we can really fight for the top positions.”