Bagnaia: ‘The good speed came from the anger of Japan’

Bagnaia: ‘The good speed came from the anger of Japan’

Francesco Bagnaia declared that the key behind racing to third in the wet Thailand Grand Prix was the “anger from Japan” after he struggled in Motegi’s sodden qualifying session.

The factory Ducati man would later crash out from the Japanese Grand Prix while trying to recover from his poor qualifying, the result of which was a greater 18-point deficit to Fabio Quartararo in the riders championship.

Having looked to have the speed to challenge for victory in the dry on Sunday at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand, Bagnaia admitted that he “wasn’t so happy” when he saw rain clouds approaching the circuit prior to the encounter – though his fears were vanquished after making  agood start and ultimately holding off Pramac’s Johann Zarco to finish third.

The 2021 MotoGP vice-champion reckoned the secret to his unexpected turn of speed in wet conditions – the Italian having also struggled badly in the soaking Indonesian GP earlier this year – was “the anger from Japan”, his result potentially crucial as he reduced Quartararo’s series lead to just two after he failed to score through suspected incorrect tyre pressures for the conditions.

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“I wasn’t so happy this morning (seeing rain clouds arrive), in the warm-up as I started with new tyres, the same type I was using for the race, and everything was perfect, I could do a good pace and everything was fine for the race – one of my best ever warm-up’s,” explained Bagnaia.

“Then when I saw that after the Moto2 race that it started raining I was a bit upset, but Jack (Miller) came to me and gave me some advice which is good from a team-mate, I don’t think I’ll have this situation again but hopefully with Enea (Bastianini) next year we can do something like this.

“In any case it was strange that in Japan I was so slow in the wet like in Indonesia because normally I’m not that slow, I’m not the best but I’m not that bad so I think today the good speed came out of the anger from Japan, I think myself and the team did a good job.

“I was trying to be in front (of Marc Marquez) and close down the gap to the leaders, something that was very difficult because in the last part of the race the front tyre was locking a lot but overall I’m happy.”

Bagnaia added that his ability to be able to brake late in the wet – unlike in Japan last weekend – was crucial in his quest to holding off Zarco and Honda’s Marc Marquez across the closing stanza, the 2018 Moto2 world champion safe in the knowledge that Zarco wouldn’t try something risky as another Ducati rider.

“We (Marquez) had a good battle like in Aragon (in 2021) because he tried to overtake me and he was pushing behind me, then (Johann) Zarco too but I think I was strong under braking and they struggled to pass me at that part, and I think if I was behind in the last part of the race I would have done the same as him because overtaking today was very difficult,” continued Bagnaia.

“I was sure that he (Zarco) was trying to do some moves, when he was behind I was just trying to brake as late as possible and I think this helped because I think if he was much faster than me he would have tried to pass me because for sure it would have been a risky manoeuvre.

“I’m glad to have improved this area because the braking is where I was struggling in Japan, it’s a good job done.”

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