Francesco Bagnaia now riding 'like a MotoGP rider'

Pramac rookie Francesco Bagnaia says he is now riding “more like a MotoGP rider”, after setting the second-fastest lap of the pre-season Sepang test on his year-old Ducati. 

Reigning Moto2 World Champion Bagnaia steps up to Pramac for his debut premier class campaign in 2019 in place of the now factory Ducati-married Danilo Petrucci, and will compete on GP18s. 

Making an impressive start to life in MotoGP with a top 10 placement in the Jerez test standings in November, Bagnaia continued this form ending the Sepang test just 0.063 seconds off of Petrucci and a further six hundredths clear of GP19-mounted Pramac team-mate Jack Miller.

“We did really great work in these three days,” he began.

“The first day till now I understand a lot of things on the bike, most of all how to ride it because it's a completely different riding style compared to Moto2; you have to pick up the bike before using more the traction of the bike, and was one of the [areas] I was [yet] to understand. 

“It was possible, in the last day I was riding more like a MotoGP rider. That was my goal, and my objective was to go below 2:00s, and what I did was very important for us. 

“But we need to concentrate more on the race pace, which was good, but we need to improve a little bit. 

“On braking I can brake very hard. In Jerez it was difficult for me, but now has been one of my key for posting the 1:58.302s [lap].” 

Rossi hails 'impressive' protege

Valentino Rossi heaped praise on his protege's performance on the final day of the Sepang test, hailing his laptime as “impressive” given his lack of experience. 

“Great, it's impressive. In the hot lap he's fantastic, so congratulations to him,” said Rossi, who was 10th fastest overall on his works Yamaha. 

“I hope in the [race] pace he is a bit more slow. If you imagine he is already fast in the test, he make a 1:58.3s. 

“So, considering the small amount of experience, it is quite impressive, so I think we need to pay attention to Pecco.”