Francesco Bagnaia reckons that title rival Fabio Quartararo “will be back and strong” after the Yamaha racer could only manage 15th in a troubled qualifying.
Bagnaia flew to a fourth successive pole in the second MotoGP event held at Misano in 2021 despite having had to contest Q1, a crucial result due to the Italian needing to shave at least three points from Quartararo’s stiff 52 point series lead in order to keep his own hopes alive heading to Portugal in two weeks time.
With the weather forecast suggesting Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix should be dry, Quartararo stands a good chance of making solid progress through the field given his near race-winning speed displayed in the San Marino GP at Misano five weeks ago, a fight back the two-time premier class winner is anticipating.
“Today is a good day and I’m very happy, tomorrow though I would like a dry race because we have more potential in the dry,” explained Bagnaia.
“I was confident I could move from Q1 to Q2, normally if the conditions are like half and half I normally struggle but today I felt great and I saw the grip was good, which helped me a lot.
“For sure it’s better for us (Quartararo missing Q2) but I’m sure tomorrow he’ll be back and strong, back to the front for sure.
“I just focussed on trying to make better laps than Q1, it was very difficult because only one line was clear.”
Bagnaia revealed that he was unsure his best effort would be enough for his fifth pole of the season after admitting he rode his lap with “less confidence” than he would have liked as a result of a nasty moment on the tour prior, though accepted that having to go through Q1 likely helped him relative to his rivals given the tricky and ever-evolving weather conditions.
“This is the best way to end a nice Saturday at home because I’m on pole in front of our fans,” continued Bagnaia.
“This morning my feeling was great with the used wet tyres, but then when we put new ones on we struggled more and I was going slowly, on the data we could see on my second lap I was much faster in the corners but I was losing a lot of time on the straights due to the rear tyre spinning.
“Today given the conditions I think it was better to be in Q1 because I did more laps in FP4 I could see our potential was great, then I did the whole Q1 session doing laps and I took a lot of confidence to set a good time in Q2.
“I wasn’t sure a 1:33.0 was enough because on the second attempt I had less confidence than in the first attempt because I lost the front in a fast bend so I thought the second time I wouldn’t take as much risk.”