This morning Pecco Bagnaia did not even know if he would be able to race, but he succeeded and given his condition (a hefty blow to his right shoulder yesterday in qualifying) the result was better than expectations. From 24th place on the grid he climbed up to 8th, just behind the two Marquez brothers. Certainly not what he was hoping for at Portimao, one of his favorite tracks.
“I’m fine, but I’m not at my best for sure – he said after the race – My shoulder hurts a lot, it was difficult to ride, but I’m happy to have fantastic feelings with my bike. This made things easier for me and I kept a pretty good pace, I was able to make up a lot of positions. In the first part of the race I waited a bit to see if my shoulder was okay because I was finding it difficult under braking and in changing direction. Then it warmed up and I started to feel good, after passing the riders in front of me I was able to set my own pace ”.
Will you be okay at Jerez in a few days?
“I’ll go home and do an MRI scan because there is something missing in the ligaments. I’ll find out more on Tuesday”.
Let’s go back to the race.
“In general it was good, certainly 8th place was not what I hoped for this GP, but after yesterday’s crash I didn’t even know if I could have raced. I did it and got a good performance, also considering that I started last. I can be, if not happy, satisfied”.
How did you change your riding style?
“I used my legs and left arm a lot more because it was difficult to push hard with the right one. In the last 5 laps I suffered a lot because the bike moved a lot and I didn’t have the strength. Overtaking Pol Espargarò was not easy at all, but this morning I said: if I manage to race eighth place will be a good result. I did it and the most important thing are the feelings I had on the bike”.
You’ve lost more points in the championship, though.
“I will stop thinking about the championship only when I no longer have a chance and this is not the case. I’m 38 points behind, last year I was 70 points behind with 6 races left. I won’t give up, I was just a bit unlucky yesterday”.
The next round will be at Jerez.
“It’s a good track for us, last year we finished first and second, even though Fabio was the fastest but he had an arm problem. I would like to be able to work the right way, as we did in Austin and here, we have to continue like this to get the results we deserve. Today I had the pace to stay ahead, but when you start last you struggle. I have to be calmer”.
You rode with an arm and a half and you were fast.
“My fastest lap today was a tenth slower than last year when I won. The pace was really good, in terms of feelings I could do what I wanted”.
Is it more the satisfaction for these feelings or the regret for yesterday’s mistake?
“More the happiness, you have to always live in the present. It was my best race of the year in terms of feelings, it was nice to find what I had last year”.