MotoGP Spain J2 Debriefing Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati / 1): “We can try to make a deal with Fabio”, etc. (Entire)

For the first time since the Algarve GP at the end of last year, Pecco Bagnaia will start from pole position this Sunday at the Jerez circuit. After a complicated start to the season, the Italian finally seems to re-emerge and intends to use this good qualifying session to finally start his season this weekend.

The Ducati rider answered journalists’ questions during the press conference after qualifying and we are transcribing all his comments here.


Pecco, we can say that this result contrasts with your qualification last week in Portugal! How does it feel to take pole position with such an advantage over your two front row opponents?
I think it’s one of the best laps I’ve ever done so far, because everything went perfectly. I wanted to attack and I didn’t make the slightest mistake. However, when you attack that hard, it’s usually easy to get wide on a turn. But everything was perfect there and I have to say that I was lucky to be able to race last week in Portimão. [en dépit d’un accident survenu dans le weekend qui avait laissé l’Italien avec une douleur à l’épaule], because it allowed me to rediscover my feelings on the bike, especially during the braking phases. The weekend has gone very well so far and I was able to progress in each of the sessions all the way to FP4 where I was able to establish a very good pace.

You had a crazy Saturday, with the best times in FP3, FP4 and qualifying. What will be your plan tomorrow to keep Fabio Quartararo behind you and take your first win of the season?
It is true that this is Fabio’s favorite circuit, he is very good. Compared to yesterday, we have reduced the gap on him, especially as regards the race pace. FP4 also did very well for me in terms of speed and consistency. I think we can fight a good fight tomorrow, but for the moment it is too early to predict the outcome. Fabio has been very consistent all weekend, and as conditions will be different tomorrow in the race, we have to wait and see how he goes.

You have a great acceleration this weekend and a great pace. How important will it be to anticipate Fabio tomorrow?
We can try to make a deal with Fabio: since he has already won a race, now it’s my turn! Obviously it will be important to finish the race ahead of him and of course I want to win. But the most important thing for me will be to be able to fight to stay at the forefront, because it is the first time since the beginning of the season that I have the opportunity to aim for victory.

The ground clearance device has proven ineffective for several riders lately. In your case, does the device offer any advantages? How important is it here in Jerez?
My system works, but I’d say it’s probably more useful for the start. It is true that at the exit of certain curves such as curve 5 you can have a lot of wheelies, but the device is still less useful than for managing the last corner, for example in Austin.

Fabio and you clearly have a better pace than everyone else on the scoreboard. Should we expect a battle between you alone leading the race tomorrow?
In my opinion, Aleix Espargaró and Joan Mir also have a good pace. But it’s true that Fabio and I did more or less the same job because we both used run-in tires this morning, before switching to new tires during FP4. Our pace was more or less similar, even if it is true that Fabio managed to do more laps. For my part, I wanted to remain cautious given the state of my shoulder. Ultimately I think there are four riders with good pace, but Fabio is the one with the best.

Do you think your shoulder can give you problems running?
My shoulder is getting better and better. Of course today is a bit more complicated than yesterday but it is normal when you attack hard. In any case, I hope this doesn’t limit me. It wasn’t like that during my time attack, but it’s true that it could get more complicated in the long run. However, I’m sure the Mobile Clinic will give me something for the race.

There were quite a few incidents here last year, leading some riders to talk about the need to make changes to the safety of the circuit. Do you think these changes are still needed?
The escape route on the outside of Turn 7 is wider, so it’s a real improvement over last year. I also believe they will work on the loopholes in turns 1 and 5 for next year. This is also a good thing, because the wall is very tight in these two corners.

Do you expect Marc Márquez to join the fight for victory tomorrow?
I really don’t know anything. What is certain is that Marc is always faster in the race. His pace isn’t bad so I expect him to be strong. I don’t know how much because sometimes he still seemed to be in trouble today.

Do you think you have the opportunity tomorrow to really launch your season?
I think I was in the game in the first few races, but the fact is that I left a lot of points behind for various reasons. We have worked hard since the first tests this season. Things weren’t easy, but I finally found my feeling with the front in Portugal, and here it’s even more extraordinary in corner entry. I am very happy with this and I am well aware that the time has come to score points.

Do you think your shoulder can penalize you in the event of a collision with Fabio in the last moments of the race?
If I have the chance to beat him at the end of the race, I can guarantee you that I will never think about my shoulder.

Spanish GP – MotoGP – The grid:

Ranking credit: MotoGP.com

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