While team-mate Jack Miller went on to claim a dominant MotoGP victory at Motegi, Bagnaia was left apologizing to his factory Ducati team after crashing out on the final lap.
A rare mistake from the Italian who has been unflappable since Assen, Bagnaia attempted an ambitious overtake on Quartararo as the pair began their final lap, only to lose the front-end under braking.
Luckily for Quartararo, Bagnaia narrowly missed the Yamaha rider in what was very close to being a collision.
A difficult day for both riders ended with much different outcomes as Quartararo increased his lead to 18 points in the championship standings, while you can also see how Crash.net evaluated the performance of both riders in its latest MotoGP ratings.
“I made a huge mistake today! I struggled with overtaking because my traction wasn’t the best,” said Bagnaia. “I was losing a bit of time on the acceleration but I was so strong in the braking.
“I was a bit too optimistic in this case and the only good thing, the only luck we had was that I didn’t touch Fabio on my crash so I didn’t disturb his race. It has been a big mess for me. I’m not happy about it.”
Front tire pressures a problem for Bagnaia
With Bagnaia spending the last few races at the very sharp end of the MotoGP field, overheating the front tire hasn’t been an issue for the Ducati man.
But after struggling to find his way through the field early on at Motegi, Bagnaia soon ran into such issues, although he claims it was not a reason for his crash.
“Yes, maybe for the humidity and my front [tyre] pressure was very, very high,” said Bagnaia when asked if he suffered from an overheating front tyre.
“It was a bit strange but I was trying not to make any mistakes and when it was down again [the front tyre pressure] I tried to push and was recovering again.
“This is something that can happen and it’s one of the first times this year that I was in a big group.
“We didn’t prepare for that. What I want to say is I did not crash because of that. I crashed because I made a mistake and I said sorry to all my team.”
One point ‘can make the difference’ in the MotoGP title race – Bagnaia
Although Quartararo and Bagnaia were only battling over eighth place, the latter felt he had no choice but to attempt an overtake, even if it was for just one point more than his rival.
Bagnaia said: “One point can make the difference but I was too optimistic. Finishing behind Fabio or waiting for a better opportunity to overtake in a safer corner was for sure, better.
“But at that moment, when I’m racing I’m always aiming for big things and my ambition was to overtake Fabio and then be close to Maverick [Vinales] in case he made any mistakes so I could overtake him.
“I was ambitious and it’s the only thing I can do to try and win the championship.”
Regarding his sarcastic clapping motion after falling off his Desmosedici GP22 machine, Bagnaia added: “It was at myself because I think I did an idiot maneuver.”