Pecco Bagnaia leaves Jerez with a time of 1:36.872 in the final standings. A tenth better than the Grand Prix in May, but with one big difference: “I did it with a new medium tyre, full tank and wind. It’s incredible.” Indeed, but Ducati and the Italian have shown in the latter part of the season that they have found a perfect understanding and the updates to the bike that have arrived from Borgo Panigale don’t seem to make things one bit to have changed.
“I’m happy, we still have a lot to do, but I feel great – was Pecco’s conclusion – besides, Jack and I have more or less the same ideas about developments and I think that the Ducati is already the perfect bike”.
Let’s start with the most visible innovation: the fairing…
“Okay but there’s still work to be done because it’s a big change from what we’ve been using this year and we need to understand if it’s better or not. I like it because it looks better but it will be important to choose and we need more rounds. At the moment the positives outweigh it, it helps cornering but we lose a bit on the straight and reducing wheelie. We’re not quite convinced yet because it’s so different.”
What were your first impressions with the 2022 engine?
“It has a completely different character and when you try something so new, you first have to understand it. They’ve worked on the acceleration, we’re already at the level of the previous engine, but it’s only day two and there’s still room for improvement. Ducati has my complete trust.”
We also saw a new exhaust, very long…
“I’ve tried different things, it’s normal at Ducati and I’m not surprised because they always work a lot at home. The new exhaust offers more or less the same feelings as the old one, now they will analyze the data. It makes me happy to have gone faster than qualifying for the GP, just working on little things, so this isn’t the worst track for us, I felt good with the old bike. If any, It’s been nice to see the progress that has been made this year, both for me and the bike. I think the old bike was perfect and we made it even better, that’s the incredible thing. We will also have a few new things at the Sepang tests in February.”
The Desmosedici is perfect, what about you?
“It’s the perfect bike for me. I don’t know if there will ever be a perfect Pecco because I always have to improve. Let’s say I’m trying to be the best Pecco I can be. This year I improved the most in my career. Compared to May I felt better in everything, The win helped me to be more competitive, I made many steps forward, not just one. I hope I don’t come back from winter as confused as I was in 2018 (laughs). I prefer the situation this year, I’m fine and I’m enjoying it.”
This was the first test with 8 Ducatis on the track…
“I’m happy that Luca and Bez are also there, we’ll have more to talk about. It will not be easy for Ducati to manage eight bikes, it’s a lot, but I’m sure they will be successful and we will have more data for development.”
Bastianini is enthusiastic about the 2021 bike, you also made a similar change…
“I had started with some updates on the 2018 bike, the difference was very big when I moved onto the 2020. But the one who made the biggest change was me, while Enea was already competitive this year it took longer. I am convinced that he will continue to improve with the GP21, he will find everything perfect.”
Did you see any rookies on the track?
“Only Bezzecchi and Di Giannantonio, I like them because both brake very hard. Unfortunately they were unlucky enough to have found wind, it seemed like we were in Australia two years ago when they stopped testing. However, for gaining experience it is fine.”
Do you have any idea who will be your most dangerous rival next year?
“Hard to say, you might find them with eight drivers in the house. In testing it’s difficult to understand who can be a contender for the title based on recent races I say Marquez, Mir, Quartararo, Miller and Martin and I are confident Morbidelli will be up there once he recovers from his injury. In the end I have to think of myself and arrive as exhausted as possible.