‘Bruises and pain’ but Bagnaia will try to race in Portuguese GP

Ducati MotoGP rider Francesco Bagnaia is aiming to compete in Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix despite being left with “bruises and pain” after his huge qualifying crash.

Bagnaia took an early punt on slicks at a drying Portimao in the first qualifying segment, and was thrown off his bike three corners into his first and only push lap, landing hard on his shoulder.

He was quickly back on his feet but in enough discomfort to require medical attendance, going by ambulance to the medical center and then being taken to hospital for further check-ups.

His Ducati team says that the hospital visit revealed “fortunately no fractures” and that Bagnaia is raring to go from last place on the grid on Sunday, assuming he declared fit to race.

Back with the team! 😬 It was just a big scare that left him with bruises and pain, but fortunatelly no fractures! 🦾@peccobagnaia wants to race tomorrow and will have another medical check before the warm up to receive medical clearance 👍🏼 #PortugueseGP #GoFree pic.twitter.com/JtOs9FCnsK

— Ducati Corse (@ducaticorse) April 23, 2022

Bagnaia’s crash was one of several big highsides on Saturday, and came soon after Remy Gardner was launched off his Tech3-run KTM after heading out on slicks at the very start of Q1.

It seemed surprising at the time that this didn’t deter Bagnaia, with Gardner escaping “with a scrape on my leg” and most riders sticking with wets for the initial run.

A demonstration of the risk to go for slick tires! 😮@GardnerRemy loses all grip over the damp at Turn 9! 💥#PortugueseGP 🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/Mo2mEFN1ho

— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) April 23, 2022

“It was my first time with the Michelins in kind of mixed [conditions] for me, and Jesus Christ, they are not nice on [wet] patches, the michies. I think until you get it scrubbed in really,” said Gardner.

“I went through the puddle the water stayed on the tire and as I turned in the water hadn’t got off the tire yet and just f***ing flicked [me].”

Bagnaia’s crash was similar, moments coming after he’d tagged a wet patch.

Yet Gardner himself has remained insistent that the track at that point was already too dry for wet rubber.

“It wasn’t way too wet for slicks. It was kind of – even in the wet you had these rivers, just where the water would accumulate, and that’s where guys were crashing, aquaplaning. And then you had the corners that were completely dry.

“I saw it quite ready for slick. Just really one of those stupid f***ing rivers caught me out, to be honest, that’s about it.”

The winner of four of the last six races in 2021, Bagnaia – who has had his Ducati deal extended for the next two years – has had a rough start to 2022 and currently sits 12th in the standings.

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