Bagnaia’s 2021 title hopes came to an end late on in the previous Emilia Romagna GP when he crashed out of the lead, with Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo emerging from the Misano weekend as the world champion.
The Ducati rider put those demons behind him to qualify on pole in Portugal with a new lap record and went on to take a dominant lights to flag victory on Sunday, securing him runner-up spot in the standings and winning the constructors’ crown for Ducati.
When asked if he felt he was riding freer now he didn’t have to think about the championship, Bagnaia says there was no difference as he didn’t feel he had any pressure at Misano.
“Sincerely I think I’m the same as Misano. I was doing the same race, I was pushing like in Misano,” he said.
“In Misano I was more unlucky because I crashed, this time I had the luck not to crash – maybe because I was not with the hard front.
“But sincerely I didn’t change compare to Misano I think, because at Misano I was just trying to keep the championship open.
“But I was already knowing it was very difficult to win it, because today if I had the win in Misano, for sure Quartararo was not crashing today.
“So, it’s ok like this and I was racing without pressure of the championship, so I just did the same thing.”
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Bagnaia hailed his Algarve GP as “my best weekend in MotoGP” having been strong from the off, though admits the early laps of his race were difficult because he didn’t feel confident on his medium front tyre.
“I’m very happy because I think it’s my best weekend in MotoGP, and also I enjoyed every single session this weekend because when you feel so great with your bike everything comes much easier to you,” he added.
“So, I’m very happy with the work that was done. Comparing to April [at the Portuguese GP] that I finished second, I was feeling more competitive this time.
“I’m very happy. This race was maybe at the start more difficult because with the front tyre I was struggling a bit more than in the other races.
“So, at the start I was trying to push, but every time I was leaning I was feeling the front was closing.
“But then everything was coming better and better, and I’m very happy to have won this race. Also, I’m very happy that we have won the constructors’ championship.”