‘He will for sure say something’ - Bagnaia goes against Rossi advice…

Despite receiving advice from ‘mentor’ Valentino Rossi not to use the soft front tyre during Sunday’s Austrian MotoGP, Francesco Bagnaia did so anyway as he held off Fabio Quartararo for his third consecutive win.
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Red Bull Ring, Austria 2022
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Red Bull Ring, Austria 2022

Quartararo, who was using a hard front tyre compared to Bagnaia and Jack Miller who were both using the soft, was considerably quicker than the two factory Ducati riders at the end of the Austrian MotoGP. 

Had the reigning world champion had one more lap to play with then it’s very possible that he could have taken victory. 

While Miller faded during the final few laps as a result of spending the entire race behind Bagnaia, the latter managed to keep just enough tyre underneath him due to being in clear air from lap one onwards.

The decision to use the soft front tyre was certainly a gamble for the Italian and one that Rossi even advised Bagnaia against prior to the 28-lap race getting underway. 

"I spoke again with Vale [Rossi] and Casey [Stoner] this weekend," said Bagnaia post-race. "With Vale, he’s like my mentor and he always gives me advice about tyres. He was saying to me today, ‘don’t use the soft front because it will be a long [day]’. And I used the soft front. 

"He will for sure say something to me [laughs]. And with Casey - Friday he helped me to understand some situations better because [watching] from the television or from his experience when he rode here with Ducati he felt something and it’s like a comment on his experience. 

"I tried to see if I could use something from his experience."

‘He knew my intentions’ - Miller’s attempt at winning a first MotoGP race in 2022 halted by Bagnaia at turn 10

During the opening stages it appeared as though Miller had greater pace than Bagnaia, which was highlighted by the Australian attempting to take the lead at turn nine. 

But knowing an immediate response was crucial to not suffer with the tyre degradation late on, Bagnaia came back at Miller during the very next corner to regain the lead.

Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP race, Austrian MotoGP, 21 August
Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP race, Austrian MotoGP, 21 August

Bagnaia said: "I was already having a lot of moments from the front and I said ‘if I stay behind him I will surely have too much pressure on the front tyre’. 

"When I look at him overtake me so easily I just tried to drop a bit the lap time. I was able to open a bit of a gap. I’m happy about that."

For Miller, the failed overtake played a big role in costing him the victory but also second place to Quartararo. 

On a day where he felt like his GP22 machine was performing well enough to win the race, Miller added: "I had a fantastic bike, a bike good enough to fight for the victory. I felt like I needed to get that move done. 

"Like Pecco [Bagnaia] said, he knew my intentions at that point in time because I had been behind him and Enea [Bastianini] and we both had that soft front. 

"I knew I needed to get some cool air. I had a lunge but I wasn’t quite able to pull it off. [Then] I was just struggling a bit to get it to pull up and he was able to put the hammer down and creep out a tenth here, a tenth there. 

"Later in the race I really started struggling. I don’t know whether it was because of the time spent behind the other bikes. 

"I started suffering a lot in the left-hand corners which were my strong point at the beginning of the race."

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