Francesco 'Pecco' Bagnaia has hailed Aspar's MotoGP Ducati as “something special”, after the team granted the Italian nine laps aboard the bike on Tuesday morning at Valencia.
Aspar team boss Gino Borsoi handed Bagnaia an incentive at the beginning of the year: win two races in the Moto3 class, and you can sample the MotoGP machine at the close of the season.
Bagnaia duly accepted, taking Mahindra's first grand prix win in the Moto3 race at Assen before repeating the feat again at Sepang. Riding an R6 throughout the season did little to prepare him for 260 brake horsepower.
“It was an incredible experience,” said Bagnaia, who completed nine laps, the fastest of which was six seconds slower than the leading riders of the class.
“I expected the bike to be fast, but not like this. It's something special, something incredible, because when you open the gas on the straight you can't see anything else but the end of the straight coming closer to you.
“You have to brake, you have to turn, you have to get on the gas – but it all happens in a short time you have no time to think or to make the decisions properly.
"The R6 is the biggest bike I've ridden. The R6 compared to that is nothing. There isn't a word to explain that because it's a completely different bike. It's something special.”
The 19-year old admitted he was unable to sleep on Monday night: “I sleep until five o'clock and then I start turning. Then I think, 'F**k! When will ten o'clock come so I can enter the track?”
“I was excited most for the speed. When the mechanics say to me, 'Now!' I was a little nervous.”
Sunday's race in Moto3 was his last, as a move to Moto2 with VR46's new team beckons. Bagnaia now flies direct to Jerez, where he will sample the Kalex-chassis for the first time.
“Now I go to Jerez for a Moto2 test. Then I go back to Valencia. We've made a great year in 2016. We were fast from the first race. Preseason was so difficult because the bike was so new.
“We had to work a lot with the bike. I release my bike now for [Albert] Arenas and [Lorenzo] Dalla Porta. It's a great bike and one that can make a great result. Two wins, six podiums, one pole position. The only thing that I'm not happy about is to finish the year in fourth position because we worked for more. But someone didn't want it and I finished fourth in the end.”
On whether he would have preferred to move up to MotoGP, skipping the intermediate class, as Jack Miller did at the close of 2014, he said, “I prefer to make two years in Moto2 first, to make a good base on a bike with more power is more important.
“That's important for making the pace in the race, because that's what wins a race in Moto2 unlike in Moto3 – and MotoGP is more similar to Moto2.”