Bagnaia: ‘No one will ever be like Rossi’, praises Quartararo on ‘inferior bike’

Valentino Rossi, Fabio Quartararo and the influence of social media - 2022 MotoGP title contender Francesco Bagnaia shared his thoughts on it all ahead of next weekend’s crucial Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island. 
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Buriram
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Buriram

Bagnaia, who has his best chance yet of winning a first MotoGP title after closing to within two points of Quartararo following his podium at the Thailand MotoGP, was a guest on the ‘Stasera c’e Cattelan’ podcast when he discussed everything involving racing his mentor Rossi and current rival Quartararo.

Rossi retired at the end of the 2021 season after two difficult seasons where he managed just one podium finish, while the MotoGP Legend also failed to win a race dating back to Assen 2017. 

Still, Rossi remains the Greatest of All Time in Bagnaia’s eyes, with the Ducati rider saying: "He was so much bigger than everyone else that he's out of competition. 

"No one will ever be like him. So from that perspective there is less pressure. But it's also true that no Italian has won the MotoGP title since 2009. Precisely because there are social networks, you feel this thing a lot more."

Staying on the subject of social media, Bagnaia believes he’s learned how to avoid the negativity that can come with social media platforms, while explaining which era would have suited him best from this point of view.

Bagnaia continued: "In the late 1990s or early 2000, because there were no social media networks, which certainly made everything easier."

"I've made a huge step in that regard, I don't look at the comments and these things anymore. Because I don't have to prove to them that I'm fast, but to myself and the people who work with me."

Bagnaia praises Quartararo as he aims to become first Italian MotoGP champion since Rossi

As Bagnaia alluded to, there has not been an Italian MotoGP champion since Rossi won in 2009. 

Given the world championship is well represented by Italians every year it is certainly a surprise, however, that could all change this season with Bagnaia. 

Prior to Assen a title charge from Bagnaia looked almost impossible, but since winning the Dutch MotoGP he has reduced a 91 point deficit to just 2 in the standings.

Fabio Quartararo, Francesco Bagnaia , Japanese MotoGP. 23 September
Fabio Quartararo, Francesco Bagnaia , Japanese MotoGP. 23 September

Bagnaia and Quartararo are somehow yet to have a race-long duel for victory in their premier class careers, but should that happen then the respect between the two is likely to make it a clean fight.

Speaking about his respect for Quartararo and what the Frenchman has been achieving on an M1 bike that’s considered ‘inferior’, Bagnaia added: "There is great respect, which is the most important thing. We really have known each other for many years. I met him at the presentation of my team in Italy, which was deployed in both Spain and Italy. From then on, we almost always rode together."

Bagnaia, who has six wins compared to Quartararo’s three this season, continued: "He's been really consistent this year. He's had more ups and downs in recent years - he was also the World championship leader in 2020, but then lost. 

"Last year he managed to win the title. This year he has managed to be very consistent, although I think his bike is inferior to ours. So he did very well."

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