His race at Le Mans ended in jostling in the gravel at turn 12 after just five laps, but the sentiment that dominates Pecco Bagnaia at the restart from France is not anger towards Maverick Vinales, but rather disappointment for another possible result price gone up in smoke, which reduced his lead in the championship standings over the winner of the French GP, Marco Bezzecchi, to just one length.
“It’s a shame because it’s the third time in five races that we had the pace to try and win and we didn’t make it. At that moment we were quite slow, but every time I think about waiting a bit, something always happens . Maybe it’s better to listen to your instincts and not hold back to try to stay calm. I’m disappointed because we’ve shown that we’re always fast, but I’m leading the World Championship by just one point. Indeed, I’m lucky that this year there let’s be the Sprints, because without those I would already be quite behind. And I could have reached this break with about 70 points more,” said a visibly disconsolate Bagnaia after also making a visit to the Medical Center due to a sore ankle.
A situation that fortunately seems to be quite under control, also because there is almost a month left before the next race at Mugello: “My ankle hurts and nothing seems to be broken. But now there’s a lot of liquid, it’s swollen, so we’ll have to wait a bit. There’s a distortion, but there’s still time for Mugello, so we’re calm.”
The dynamics of the contact with the Aprilia rider was that of a typical race accident: Maverick went inside at turn 11 braking and went a bit wide. Pecco, on the other hand, remained glued to the internal curb, managing to cross the trajectory. At that point the two bikes found themselves very close approaching turn 12 and contact was almost inevitable.
“You can have many points of view, but in my opinion it was an unfortunate circumstance and clearly a racing incident. From my point of view, we could have avoided it: maybe he could have been more careful not to go back on the racing line as if I weren’t there , and I maybe trying to close the gas to avoid him. I didn’t see him, he probably didn’t consider me and what happened happened”.
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Even if he didn’t like the angry reaction of Roses’ rider, who gave him a couple of shoves immediately after the accident, the two later got to clarify and according to the reigning world champion it was essential to go and talk together with the commissioners.
“I always consider certain moments of tension to be wrong, but I’m not angry with Maverick. They should be kept out of public images, because it’s not nice. I didn’t really like his ration, but it’s fine, because the adrenaline and nervousness at sometimes they play tricks. We had a meeting with the commissioners and I explicitly asked for him to be there too, because for me it’s right when there are situations of this type”.
“It is necessary to clarify in front of the stewards and I have advised that it is always done when there is contact with a crash. At the beginning today our points of view were different, but in the end we agreed on the same thing: talking is always the best way to face And it’s certainly incredible to think that it happened because we are two of the most correct riders on the grid, so it was a somewhat unfortunate circumstance”.
The Ducatista was then asked to comment on the large increase in the number of accidents that has been seen in the first races of this season. The curious thing, however, is that he didn’t point his finger at the new format with the Sprint, but rather at the flattening of performance between the official and customer bikes.
“We’ve been trying to win in the first laps for two years. Someone who’s behind tries to pass even 5-6 riders in one lap, and it shouldn’t be like this. We’re all at the limit, so especially in the first part of the race, it’s wrong try to do something more. If you see, the accidents are mainly in the first phase of the race, perhaps because there is too much agitation. Something must be done to improve this situation, because it is not safe like this”.
“The bikes on the grid can all win, there are no longer those 6-7 tenths between the factory bike and the customer bike. A gap that served, because the fantastic four were born because they were the strongest, but they also had the factory bikes. Now the level is extreme and everyone has the possibility of being able to win. Surely today the race pace was not what we would have expected, with the exception of Bezzecchi’s, and this kept the group more united. But in my opinion we should go back to have a bit of a gap between the factory bikes and the customer bikes, or in any case find a solution”.
Finally, he explained that he does not believe that the limited time to work on the setting imposed by the new format could be a factor: “I don’t think so, because in the end the rider does the setting. There is less time to do it and what we should asking is to make sure that FP1 no longer counts for entering Q2 directly to have 45 minutes to work in. But it’s not a question of setting, because I feel perfectly with my bike, so it’s difficult to understand if it could depend on that or for other reasons”.
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team, Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing
Photo by: Marc Fleury