Twenty-five laps in apnea, with Quartararo breathing down his neck and the track in front. Twenty-five laps waiting for the checked flag, hoping it wasn’t obscured by a blue shadow. The Jerez race was all this for Bagnaia and much more, the time to get back to what he used to be, fast and precise, finally at one with his Ducati. Forgetting the pain in his shoulder, the first races of suffering, the doubts about himself and the bike.
“It is an important victory, especially in Ducati – says Pecco – We achieved it on a track where Yamaha and Quartararo have always made the difference and after a moment in which we were in difficulty.”
Was it more difficult to manage your shoulder or Quartararo always behind you?
“Fabio! (laughs) I never had a two or three second lead, he was at 5, 6, 7 tenths, for the whole race. In that situation it is easy to make mistakes and you think of nothing but being better, faster. I didn’t have time to think about other problems, I was totally concentrated, if I went wide at a corner I knew that Fabio would take advantage of it. It was important to be consistent”.
It is not the first time you have found yourself in such a situation but the last time, at Misano, you made an error.
“That crash was caused by a wrong tire choice, a gamble that didn’t come off. In Moto2, however, I did many races like this, thinking only of giving the best possible. I knew that Fabio would be strong today, but I was too ”.
Is this the first of a series of battles between the two of you?
“We’ll see, in MotoGP things always change. That’s the way it went today, but I think Aleix got a bit held up and Mir was almost too. “
Tell us about your race.
“I made one of my best starts ever, I’m happy because with the GP22 we were struggling with wheelie. Then, on the first lap, I thought about closing all the doors to Fabio, especially at the last corner. I knew that he was the man to beat and if he was in front I could have had problems with the front tire. But keeping that pace was difficult, in that heat the rear slid and the front locked up.”
Did you finally get out of the tunnel with this victory?
“I was more optimistic during the test, but arriving to the first race the reality was a bit different and I started struggling a bit. But I think we did a good thing in stopping trying to adapt this bike to me and just leaving the bike the same, riding. Already last year my cornering speed increased, but I had to work to figure out how to get in even harder and it wasn’t easy because we’re talking about tenths of a second, in particular. The GP22 is faster on guided tracks like this one, now we have to try to improve the top speed ”.
Did your shoulder not give you any problems?
“I was very worried about the race because this morning in the warm-up I was without painkillers, and I was struggling, but then Clinica Mobile always has something good to give to you, and that helped me (laughs). Just the last part of the race was difficult because all the braking is in the right apart from the last corner.
Has the chase to Quartararo begun?
“I would like to continue like this now, not losing any more points, I’m 33 behind him after 6 races. That’s quite a lot but I still have time to recover”.
In your personal ranking, how do you rate this victory?
“The first one I got was incredible, at Aragon, on a track that is always difficult for me. Today’s is also important because it came after a difficult period and a lot of work to be able to demonstrate the full potential of this bike. It was a great victory.”