Francesco Bagnaia: Brno setup reset key to improved MotoGP form
Pramac Ducati rookie Francesco Bagnaia says that a setup rethink at last weekend’s Czech Grand Prix has allowed him to find a "better feeling” with his GP18 machine.
Bagnaia displayed improved pace at Brno, where he scored his fourth points finish of the season with 12th, before racing to his best premier class result of 7th in the Austrian GP yesterday after starting from his highest grid spot of the year in fifth.
The reigning Moto2 world champion moved into MotoGP this year as a Ducati junior rider, competing on a year old GP18 machine run by the Pramac squad for his rookie campaign.
The plan is for the Italian to move onto a factory spec GP20 for his sophomore season, but for now he is satisfied to have found a good direction in which to head in order to extract more speed from his current steed.
“It’s been nice to arrive in the top ten, it was our objective and it was also great to finish with the smallest gap to the leaders so far, so I’m happy about that,” explained Bagnaia.
“At Brno we started from zero, and this allowed us to find a good step with the setup of the bike and during the weekend it was better.
“Then in the test we found something with the settings that I really like and then this weekend has been thanks to all of that hard work in Brno, as my feeling with the bike is now much better.
“I’m happy to have put together a solid weekend, the first one of the year I think. We made a good step at Brno and then another here, in the first session we were fast so this is very positive for our work and to finish seventh is fantastic.
“Yesterday I had my best qualifying result and today the best race finish so we have to continue in this way to work out how to use the tyres less during the race and finish closer to the front.”
Bagnaia outlined improved tyre performance as his next target heading forwards, having come close to losing his seventh place to fellow new-boy Miguel Oliveira in the closing laps of the Austrian contest as he began to struggle for rear tyre grip.
“It’s been difficult because at the beginning I had less grip than the rest of the weekend, and this meant I was pushing the tyre harder to make the same times.
“This meant I overused them and in the last few laps I was left with very little grip on the rear so it was really tough to hold onto seventh, but I’m happy.”