Francesco Bagnaia concludes: ‘When I relax, I crash’

Having spent several days contemplating his third race mistake of the season, in Sunday’s German MotoGP, Francesco Bagnaia has reached a surprising conclusion.
Francesco Bagnaia, Dutch MotoGP, 24 June
Francesco Bagnaia, Dutch MotoGP, 24 June

The Ducati star has dropped a disastrous 91 points from Fabio Quartararo after losing control of his Desmosedici while holding station behind the Frenchman in the early laps at the Sachsenring.

The frustrated Italian insisted there was no reason for his accident and nothing unusual on the data.

“Looking at the data, it's impossible to understand,” Bagnaia said last weekend. “I can't explain it. I'm very angry, because when you crash and you know why, if it's your mistake, normally I'm very self critical. But today, the reason I crashed is something I can't explain.”

However, after analysing not only this season’s accidents but the style of past race victories dating back to Moto2, Bagnaia believes he’s spotted a common scenario.

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“Three times I have crashed this year. The first time in Qatar I was pushing because I was behind. But the other two times, in the same moment that I said ‘I will be more calm, breathe and then come back’, I crashed,” Bagnaia explained.

“I don't know about the other bikes, but my feeling is that when you are not pushing on these tyres, maybe it's more easy to crash. It’s something strange, but it's the only thing that comes to me when I'm thinking why I crashed.”

In addition to potentially affecting tyre performance or behavior, Bagnaia acknowledged that the decision to relax could also be having mental consequences.

“I want to say that I never lose concentration during the race, but maybe thinking to be more calm and breathe is not something that helped me,” he said.

“Because if we look at the races when I start first and push, I don't have this type of problem. Just controlling the gap from [the rider behind] is not a problem.

“So I have to concentrate on being more focused in a situation where I'm not first, when I don’t have a small lead of 6-7 tenths and work on that moment.

“I’m sure we are not speaking about having too much pressure, because I think that all riders have worked a lot over all the years before arriving in MotoGP and we can manage well the pressure.

“But the problem is that in my case, also when I won in Moto2, I won 8 races and all the 8 race wins were me in front and pushing [all the time].

“I also think I'm good on the fighting, because when I have to come back [through the field] normally I can do it.

“But in a situation where the race starts to be [stable]… I have to be more maybe focused on pushing all the time.

“I'm just thinking about this, because I really want to improve myself, and it's something maybe that I have to improve.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Dutch MotoGP, 24 June
Francesco Bagnaia, Dutch MotoGP, 24 June

Francesco Bagnaia fastest on day one at Assen

Bagnaia, who also lost big points when he was taken out in Barcelona and finished 15th in the wet Mandalika race, helped put the Sachsenring misery behind him by being fastest during Friday practice in The Netherlands.

“I feel great, also this morning in the wet, I felt better than Portimao or Mandalika,” he said.

“And in dry, the most impressive thing was to be just one tenth slower than my best lap time in last year’s race.

“So I feel great today with my bike because the conditions for sure weren’t the best, but we were able to do good work, also in terms of setting so I’m happy about that.”

Assen had been one of the Desmosedici's toughest circuits last season, but the latest fairing has helped address the corner entry issues.

"Today I'm one second faster than [Friday practice] last year, so for me the improvements we have done will help us a lot in tracks like this," Bagnaia said. "What I can see is that I can enter faster in the faster corners, which is where I was losing a lot of time compared to Fabio last year.

"The base of the bike is similar [to last year], but this new fairing is helping us."

Team-mate Jack Miller was fastest in the wet morning session and then fourth in the afternoon.

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