Enea Bastianini revealed that he “believed” he could win the Americas Grand Prix after making a breakthrough with the way he attacked the Circuit of the America’s opening sector.
Having qualified fifth on Saturday, the Gresini Ducati ace ran well within the top three in the early stages of the Americas GP behind fellow Ducati men Jack Miller and pole-man Jorge Martin before the charging Suuzki of Alex Rins spurred him on into making further forward progress.
Having passed Martin just past mid-distance, Bastianini managed to find a crucial improvement to the way he rode the opening sector of the complex COTA circuit to catch long-time race leader Miller, before ultimately passing the Aussie just five laps from home and romping away to score his second win in the opening four races of 2022 by just over two seconds.
Bastianini credited his late opening sector breakthrough as the key ingredient to scoring the second success of his premier class career, the 2020 Moto2 world champion having believed that he wouldn’t have been able to catch Miller without it.
“The feeling is amazing because it was a really hard race, yesterday qualifying wasn’t very nice because I crashed, but the second row still gave me the chance to get on the podium,” explained Bastianini.
“It was important to ride relaxed in the first part of the race because I had to save my body (fitness) and the tyres, and when I saw (Alex) Rins close to me I knew then was the time to push and go to the front, so I overtook Jack (Miller) and Jorge Martin.
“In the middle part of the race I felt that I could go on the podium but Jack was too fast, and then when I changed something in the first sector I made a good step in the laptime, and at that point I believed that I could win the race.
“I made a gap and then managed to win this race in Texas, it’s really nice for me.”
Having also wrestled the riders points lead as a result of his COTA win, Bastianini admitted he was keen to not think about any title tilt for now, conceding that “for the moment I’m happier without the pressure.”
“It’s fantastic for the team and everybody (strong opening flyaway races) but now there are a lot of European races, and I think this will be more difficult because more riders will be closer and qualifying will be harder,” continued Bastianini.
“The good thing is we are competitive so we have to remain concentrated, and also keep having fun.
“It (championship) is possible, but for the moment I’m happier without the pressure.”