Bagnaia won four races in 2021 and finished runner-up in the standings to Fabio Quartararo, missing the championship by 26 points, in a breakout campaign for the factory Ducati rider.
The Italian got the first win of his MotoGP career at the Aragon Grand Prix last September when he battled hard with six-time world champion Marc Marquez.
Speaking in Autosport’s Tank Slappers podcast, Bagnaia says this was the highlight of his 2021 season – while also revealing that it was from this moment where he really started to enjoy every aspect of a race weekend.
“For me the win in Aragon was the incredible one,” Bagnaia said.
“First win, an incredible battle with Marc. I enjoyed a lot all the weekend.
“From that moment I started to enjoy it a lot; every session and every weekend I did in the last part of the season.
“So, I think I have to work on that to be always concentrated and to enjoy it every time.
“And I think it was the secret of Vale, to enjoy it every time he was riding.
“So, for sure Aragon has started something in my mind, and also something in my career.
“I think I have to work on it and be always like that.”
Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT, Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing, Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team
Photo by: Dorna
Nine-time motorcycle grand prix world champion Rossi called time on his illustrious MotoGP career at the end of the 2021 season.
But he will retain a presence in the paddock in 2022 through his VR46 team and his VR46 Academy riders – of which Bagnaia is one.
Expected to be a title contender from the off in 2022, Bagnaia expects Rossi “will be very close to me” in this instance – but hasn’t requested any additional help from Rossi, who is set to embark on a career in GT racing.
“I think in that situation he will be very close to me, or close to the rider that will need Vale’s help,” Bagnaia said when asked if he would ask for help from Rossi should he be in a position to win the championship.
“So, he’s our mentor and will help us for sure. Will not be easy because he’ll be on his new work with the cars, but for us he will be with us every time.”