Francesco Bagnaia: ‘Very angry, it’s impossible to understand’

Francesco Bagnaia’s MotoGP title hopes suffered a potential knock-out blow with an ‘impossible to understand’ accident, behind race leader Fabio Quartararo, at the Sachsenring.
Francesco Bagnaia crash, German MotoGP race, 19 June
Francesco Bagnaia crash, German MotoGP race, 19 June

Starting from pole and eager to slash some of the 66-point deficit to Quartararo after being taken out in Catalunya, Bagnaia was on the back foot from the off, losing the holeshot to the Yamaha rider.

Quartararo then cut decisively back under the factory Ducati, when Bagnaia dived for the lead a lap later.

Their duel should have been far from over, the Italian arguably looking stronger for race pace, but it was all done dusted on lap 4, when the rear of Bagnaia’s bike spun out as he opened the throttle on the exit of turn one.

The shocked Italian walked away with his hands in the air, while Quartararo rode untroubled to a third win of the season.

“I'm trying to replay in my mind what happened, and I cannot explain my crash,” Bagnaia said. “For sure, if I crashed, it's because I did a mistake. But in this situation it's very difficult to understand why.

“Looking at the data, it's impossible to understand. I was angry like this, because I can't explain it. I'm very angry, because when you crash and you know why, it's your mistake, normally I'm very self critical.

“But today, the reason why I crashed is something I can't explain. So it's more difficult to understand, it's more difficult to accept.”

“I did more than 70 laps over the weekend and in none of those did I feel close to anything like this. It never happened in my life to crash like this,” he added. “Only at the Ranch, but at the Ranch I'm on the dirt track.

“My lean angle was the same, my speed was the same, I was more turned to exit, so it's very difficult to understand why I crashed.

“Maybe all the bikes at this moment are living in a narrow margin and if you go out of it, you crash.”

Francesco Bagnaia crash, German MotoGP race, 19 June
Francesco Bagnaia crash, German MotoGP race, 19 June

Bagnaia: ‘I had two plans’

“Everything was perfect. I started the race and I was controlling everything. I had two plans. The first one was to start in front and push. And the second was, if Fabio was in front in the first three laps, like it was, I was planning to be more calm, be more smart, let Fabio go 1.5-2s and then in the second part of the race to close this gap and try to overtake.

“Because I was with the hard and he was with the medium [rear tyre]. And I think that if I was there, for sure the pace of the race was from 1'21.5 to 1'21.9. So it would be more difficult for a medium tyre to remain constant like this. For sure now it's just words. But I think our potential was that.

“Everything was going to plan, everything was working well, my braking was strong, my corner speed was strong, everything was strong. So it's even more difficult to accept for that reason.

“The only positive thing is that again we were at the top, we were the fastest, and also looking at the pace, our potential was high. But nothing... This is one more time that Fabio is demonstrating that he is more complete than me.”

Francesco Bagnaia crash, German MotoGP race, 19 June
Francesco Bagnaia crash, German MotoGP race, 19 June

Bagnaia: ‘Quartararo one of the greatest riders ever’

Bagnaia’s storming conclusion to last season, outscoring Fabio Quartararo by 44 points in the final six races (an average of 7 points per race), meant many picked the Ducati rider over Yamaha’s reigning champion going into 2022.

Instead, Bagnaia walked out of the Sachsenring gravel to sign off the opening half of the season a massive 91-points behind Quartararo.

It was Bagnaia’s fourth DNF of the season, adding to previous crashes in Qatar and Le Mans, being taken out in Catalunya and scoring a single point in the Mandalika rain.

Mathematically, Bagnaia now needs to beat the Frenchman by a daunting average of over nine points per race to salvage his title hopes over the remaining ten rounds. Realistically, barring major misfortune for Quartararo, Bagnaia’s championship chances are in need of a miracle.

Especially since Bagnaia, in his own words, is up against one of the 'greatest ever'.

“He's a world champion, so he's one of the greatest riders ever, so for sure he wants to win,” said Bagnaia, explaining why he wasn’t surprised that Quartararo was willing to take risks to retake the lead on lap 2.

“Like Márquez was trying to win every race, like Valentino, Casey, everyone. So the greatest riders try to do that.”

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