Enea Bastianini reckons he made Francesco Bagnaia “nervous” while attacking the factory Ducati man for the lead of the French Grand Prix.
The Gresini rider pressured Bagnaia for supremacy across the second half of the race after dispatching the sister official Ducati of Jack Miller just prior to mid-distance, before then scything past his countryman at Turn 3 just half-a-dozen laps from home.
The 2021 MotoGP vice-champion quickly snapped back to re-take the lead at Turn 6, though a key error at Turn 8 just seconds later would ultimately hand Bastianini a lead he would never relinquish, while Bagnaia crashed just several corners later while trying to get back on terms with the now three-time premier class race winner.
Bastianini believes he made Bagnaia ”nervous” as he started pressuring him, the 2020 Moto2 world champion reckoning this was the key to scoring his third victory in the opening seven contests of the 2022 campaign.
“It was a very difficult race, especially for me because I already crashed three times during the weekend, everytime with the soft on the front because for the choice was a little too soft but with the medium in the race conditions it has always been better,” explained Bastianini.
“My strategy was to stay calm in the first part of the race to try and understand what my objective could be, because at the start I wasn’t really confident of being fast but in the middle when I could see I had better pace than the other riders I understood in the final seven or eight laps I could push and overtake Pecco.
“This made it possible for me to battle for the podium, and in the end I won but it wasn’t simple because Pecco (Bagnaia) was really fast and could brake really late, but I think I made him nervous when I overtook him in the first sector.
“After that he made an error (at Turn 8), so it was fantastic for me to win today as the team did a great job to fix my bike three times in the weekend, it is really satisfying.
“I wasn’t 100% confident because he was really fast, but then his error really helped me to win.”
Bastianini added that he is “really confident” of being able to challenge for his fourth rostrum visit of the year at home in Mugello next time out, the Italian now just eight points adrift of series leader Fabio Quartararo with a third of the season now in the books.
“Mugello is a really special weekend for every Italian rider, and I’m really confident because after these three victories I think we can be strong there, I’ve never had a podium at Mugello but I will try and achieve it this year because we are competitive and we can do it.”