Bagnaia romped to his first pole of the 2022 season by 0.453 seconds from world champion Fabio Quartararo after setting a new lap record of 1m36.170s at Jerez.
Having topped both of Saturday’s practices ahead of qualifying, it vindicated Bagnaia’s claims coming into the weekend that he’d rediscovered the feeling on the front-end he’d been missing all year on the GP22.
Bagnaia explained that feeling returned last weekend in Portimao, but admits his form at Jerez was partly down to having the “luck” to have been able to race in Portugal despite having injured his shoulder in a crash that left him to start the race in last place.
“Yes, the truth is that I think it’s my best lap time ever because everything was perfect and I didn’t do any mistakes,” he said.
“So, normally when you push like this it’s easy to go a bit wide in a corner.
“But today everything was perfect. I had the luck to race in Portimao because I was feeling great again with my bike, the feeling was back in the braking.
“We started this weekend well. Every session I was improving a bit, and today also in FP4 my feeling was really good.”
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Bagnaia is yet to score a podium in 2022 having been pegged by many as a favourite for the championship pre-season.
His pace in FP4 suggests the battle for victory will be between himself and Quartararo, but Bagnaia claims simply running at the front will be the most important thing for him rather than winning at this point.
“For sure Fabio, this track is his track,” he added. “He’s always so competitive, so strong. Compared to yesterday we have closed the gap a bit to him in terms of pace.
“FP4 was really good for me in terms of speed and consistency. So, I think we can have a good fight tomorrow.
“But it’s too soon now to predict, Fabio was quick all weekend and the conditions in the race are always a bit different. So, we have to wait till tomorrow.
“For sure it will be very important of finish the race in front, but looking at my races the most important thing will be to fight.
“I don’t want to say I want to win tomorrow, because for sure I want to win tomorrow.
“But for me it will be more important to fight and to stay in front, because from the start of the season it will be the first opportunity to fight for the victory.”