MotoGP

Bagnaia “lucky” to be back in MotoGP title hunt

After crashing out of June’s German Grand Prix and registering his fourth DNF of the season, Bagnaia was 91 points adrift of championship leader Fabio Quartararo.

But back-to-back wins at Assen and Silverstone have put him 49 points adrift ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Bagnaia, however, sees his position as fortunate given the crash and subsequent long lap penalty for Quartararo at Assen and Silverstone, and injury problems for Aleix Espargaro at the British GP.

“I will try, first of all to think about this race to gain points,” Bagnaia said on Thursday at the Red Bull Ring.

“But sincerely we were lucky in the last two races because my main contenders had problems.

“So, it will not always be like this. Gaining so many points like this is just because I had luck in the last two races.

“But let’s see, for sure the races in front are good for us.

“But I want to think about my weekend and about the sessions. At this moment I think Aleix is still the closest one to Fabio.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The Austrian GP has been a strong event for Ducati since it returned to the calendar in 2016, with the marque winning six times at the Red Bull Ring since then.

The following races in Misano and Aragon were also happy hunting grounds for Bagnaia, who won at both venues in 2021.

While he concedes that they could be important in his hopes of fighting for the championship this year, Bagnaia is wary of pegging them as make or break given how much the competitive order has changed this season.

“It’s really difficult to say,” he added when asked if the next three rounds were critical to his title ambitions.

“Things can change year by year. It’s true it’s three good tracks, but last year in Le Mans I was struggling a lot and this year I was fighting for the victory.

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“So, everything can change. Our bike is a bit different compared to last year, but I don’t want to think about the next races.

“Before I want to start in this track, I want to be competitive like we were in the other parts of this season and try to recover points.

“But it’s difficult to predict now if I will be competitive in the next races.”


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