Francesco Bagnaia reckons that either a discarded tearoff or debris were to blame for his early exit to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after leading most of the contest.
Bagnaia backed up his blistering Friday and Saturday speed by chasing down Maverick Vinales in the early stages of the second Misano event, snatching the lead away from the Yamaha racer following a mistake from the Spaniard at Turn 4 on lap six.
He then controlled his advantage to the chasing M1, although looked to be under pressure as the race entered its closing stanza, Vinales nearly within a second of the Pramac Ducati.
Disaster then struck for the sophomore racer as he lost the front of his Desmosedici at Turn 6, sliding off into an early retirement just six laps away from a debut premier class success, leaving Vinales to cruise to his own first win of the year.
Bagnaia says that having studied the data post-race, any mistake from a riders perspective was ruled out as everything was as it should have been relative to previous tours, leading the team to conclude he must have run over something that caused the front tyre to lose grip and subsequently fold.
“The only good thing about today is that I was very strong,” said a crestfallen Bagnaia.
“I was thinking that today it was possible to win because I was controlling the gap, Maverick (Vinales) was pushing a lot behind me and I was trying to save the tyre as it was important to enter the last three laps to be able to fight, but it looks like I crashed because of something on the ground like a tearoff or some debris I’m not sure.
“It’s a strange crash because everything was like the lap before, the speed, the amount of gas I used, how the forks and shocks were working as well as the amount of lean, everything was the same.
“Therefore it looks like I touched something, it looks like this year is not my year.
“Every time I have lots of bad luck, the engine (failure) at Jerez, the broken leg with a stupid crash because it was nothing wrong with my crash and here with something on the ground that caused me to crash, so hopefully from this point I get more luck.”
The 2018 Moto2 world champion was more upbeat about the “great potential” of his Ducati machine, declaring he feels “very comfortable” with the “incredible” GP20, adding that he now expected to be competitive at all future events having scored a debut rostrum in the first Misano encounter last weekend.
“I can be happy with my performance and our bike, we have great potential at Ducati because we are strong everywhere, we have a very powerful engine, are very stable in braking and it turns well so it’s an incredible bike this year and I feel very conformable with it,” continued Bagnaia.
“I’ve been making steps every race and here we were very strong, yesterday I was very close to the pole position and today the victory was so close so bad luck but I can be happy with the work we are doing.”