“It was nice to win for the first time fighting against Márquez”

Interview in the Ricardo Tormo paddock with Francesco Bagnaia, the MotoGP runner-up in the season that now ends. At 24 years old, the pilot of the Ducati Lenovo He completes his third season in the queen class in a clear rising phase and he has already openly set himself the goal of fighting for the title next year. He speaks past, with exquisite education and in perfect Spanish.

-Do we do the interview in Spanish, Italian or English?

-In Spanish it goes well.

-Let’s start with a reflection that I make to myself about his season. I believe that this year you have been the Quartararo of last year, the one who could be a champion but not yet had to be. Do you agree?

-The similarity between Fabio’s last year and mine now is that we have both learned a lot. The seasons have been quite different, because he started very well and then it cost him a lot, and I was the other way around. I started regulating and then I took many, many steps forward. The similarity is in having lost the World Cup and having learned a lot at the same time.

-What do you think Fabio learned last year that has helped him to be champion now and what have you learned to try to be one next year?

-Last year, he lost the World Cup mentally, because he was the fastest. Noticing the pressure got worse. He has grown a lot mentally and already knows how to be calmer when he has to be, taking points. It has matured a lot. As for me, it’s different, because I didn’t have that pressure. After my first two years in MotoGP, you couldn’t think that I could win the title this year, because I was only going strong from time to time. I needed a year like the one I have had and I have to thank the official Ducati team for the serenity they have given me, which has been a lot.

-Do you think you have gained momentum to be definitely among the best?

-I needed to lay the foundations for next year and I think we have done well.

-Why did it take so long to get the first victory?

-Victory comes when it has to come. If he didn’t do it before, it’s because he wasn’t ready. It was nice to get the first victory fighting against Márquez until the last lap, and in Aragon, although then he gave it back to me in Misano. (Smile).

-Do you change your objective from now on and only the title is worth it?

-The objective is to fight, is to fight for the title.

-Does the race that you won the other day in Portimao and this one in Valencia serve next year?

-I want to continue growing and we’ll see what happens next year. With what we have done this year, and with what we will do, we can be one of the candidates for the title, along with Márquez, Quartararo, Mir, many riders, but we are strong.

-Do you think the Ducati is the best bike on the grid as almost everyone in the paddock believes?

-I think it is a very, very difficult motorcycle and with which many riders would not go as strong as they are with other motorcycles. It really is difficult. Everyone thinks it is the strongest, probably because we have won the Constructors’ title. It has a lot of speed and is very stable under braking. We can brake hard with it, but it’s not like a Yamaha or Suzuki for cornering. What it is for me is the most balanced.

-How do you feel that they say you have the best motorcycle and that you could not be a champion with it?

-I can’t go on saying that the Yamaha is better or worse than my bike, because I haven’t tried it, so I don’t understand how others are saying that ours is the best bike. It’s like always looking at your neighbor’s garden. If you haven’t tried my bike, you can’t know how my bike is doing. I say that my bike is the way it is, that it has a very high level and is balanced, but I don’t know how the others are doing.

-Now yes, Rossi is leaving us. Are you ready to be the benchmark of Italian motorcycling and inherit Rossi’s fans? In his case, the passion for Ducati also helps.

-None will be able to replace Valentino, but what I would like very much is to be able to transmit to people the passion he had for this sport. Italy is lucky to have many very strong riders at the moment, because there are Morbidelli, Bastianini, Marini, Bezzecchi if he goes up to MotoGP and Dovizioso. There are a lot of strong Italian drivers. We have a very good future.

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-Lots of competition for being the Italian idol and the good thing is that they are friends in most cases. Do they bite with that?

-We don’t talk about it, but the beauty is that we train together and we have competition at home while we prepare.

-What is Rossi for you?

-A friend, an idol, the greatest. Ever since I was little and I watch races I have seen him. I remember 2004 very well (Rossi’s first year with Yamaha) and it is normal for him to be your idol when you see a season like this and your parents tell you how he left Honda. I followed him the rest of the years and he is the greatest. I am extremely lucky to be able to work and be with him.

-Rossi suffered the Ducati of 2011 and 2012. Do you think he would have been champion with his current Ducati?

-Yes I think so. I’ve always been a fan of Ducati and Rossi so when they got together it was a dream for me. What happens is that it was not as expected but more nightmare than dream. I would like you to test our bike now that it is retiring.

-Have you never asked?

-(Smile). He is with Yamaha.

-Do you think that your relationship with Márquez will one day normalize now that you are retiring?

-I dont know. Those are their problems.

-What do you think of Marc’s situation?

-Marc is the reference now, because he is the strongest although he was injured last year. This year was his return and he has won three races. Now he’s injured again and I dislike him. This is not good for him. When I read that I was not going to run in Portimao due to a blow to the head, I already thought that I could have this double vision problem, because I already had it before. Also, a lot of times you hit your head and go out on Sunday, so this seemed strange to me. Marc always fights a lot and I think he will return.

-He was very critical of Darryn Binder after the one he organized on the last lap of Portimao 2 and spoke of the need for a Super License to get to MotoGP. Are you going to ask for it at the Security Commission?

-I think I was critical and maybe too critical, but in Moto3 the situation is… Not only does he do those things. He is one of those who does them the most, but there are many who are always doing the same things. I don’t like to see it. You can’t spend a Moto3 race, because I always see them, on the verge of a heart attack. I had a motorcycle that raced little in Moto3 and I was in the front, fighting, but with respect and now that respect is lacking. That cannot be taught. There are drivers who run without thinking that they can hurt others. Öncü in Austin didn’t think he was a danger to others, but Alcoba in Barcelona was doing the same, Rodrigo always does similar things. Alcoba, in Austin, did two laps before with Masiá, the same thing that Öncü did with him later. The penalty to Öncü was correct, but you have to give it to everyone equally. Binder was only disqualified from that race when he had thrown others. And the same in MotoGP. Same penalties for everyone.

-They drive drivers, journalists and fans crazy.

-I don’t understand why they act like that. There are pilots who, if they do it only once, it is an accident, but there are others who do it constantly and do not tell them anything.

-Will Binder be cut more in MotoGP?

– I hope that in MotoGP it does not. In addition, it is not as easy to do it in MotoGP as in Moto3, because if you are slow in MotoGP you do not get ahead because of the slipstreams, as it happens in Moto3. It is more difficult to have a group race in MotoGP, but the Superlicense would be a smart thing to do. There are riders who can go from Moto3 to MotoGP, but those who are fighting all the races ahead.

-Thank you very much and good luck.

-Thanks.

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