Francesco Bagnaia says that scoring a maiden Mugello MotoGP victory is “important” for his mindset after crashing out from the lead one year prior.
The Italian crashed out on the second lap of the 2021 encounter while leading eventual race winner Fabio Quartararo, a result that proved pivotal in Bagnaia ultimately being unable to defeat his rival in the tussle for the rider’s title.
The factory Ducati pilot fought back from the lower reaches of the top ten in the 2022 edition to lead reigning world champion Quartararo by 0.635s at the flag though, the 2021 vice-champion rarely allowing the Yamaha man within a second of him across the closing laps.
Bagnaia admitted post-race that the fact he crashed while in position to fight for supremacy 12 months ago meant he desired a first Italian Grand Prix win more than ever, especially due to wanting to redeem himself after crashing out at Le Mans two weeks ago.
“Last year was hard emotionally (crashing) so it was important to do it this year for myself, my team and the fans, this is something I have dreamed about,” explained Bagnaia.
“We have to happy with the result, after the crash at Le Mans it was important to restart with a finish like this, and to do it here is tricky because Mugello is a hard track but we did a perfect weekend.
“It (race) was incredible, I just tried to manage a great start but I didn’t, and I was already well behind at the first corner.
“It was very important to overtake the riders in front as soon as possible because I chose the medium front and staying behind those riders could be a problem.
“I tried to pass (Marco) Bezzecchi on the straight because I knew it was hard to out-brake people, but I did and then just tried to set my pace, which was good enough to stay ahead of the others.”
Bagnaia added that he reckoned managing the situation out in front while under pressure from Quartararo was “more difficult” than when he had to hold off the Frenchman at Jerez earlier this month, admitting that he was struggling with the rear of his Desmosediic sliding on entry to Mugello’s high-speed bends.
“My grip was not the best and I struggled with the rear tyre, but speaking with Aleix (Espargaro) and Fabio (Quartararo) it was the same so maybe it was because of the overnight rain,” continued Bagnaia.
“It was not easy (managing race), compared with Jerez it was more difficult because there the pace was similar but we were in the position to push from the start, but here we had to manage which was tough because the rear was sliding a lot on entry.
“Therefore I was struggling to stop the bike and I lost the rear a lot of times during the race, but finally the gap I got at the start gave me the possibility to manage things better, and this was the sort of race that I like.”