Bagnaia: 'Difficult to open full throttle, sliding a lot’ until big change…

Francesco Bagnaia says a big change with just over an hour remaining of the Sepang MotoGP Test helped unlock even more potential from his 2023 Ducati machine.
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Sepang 2023
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Sepang 2023

On the outskirts of the top ten prior to his final time attack runs, the current MotoGP champion unlocked a significant amount of potential as he finished second quickest behind Luca Marini.

Bagnaia, who appears to be in a much better position than at this point last pre-season, has gelled instantly with the 2023 bike, as have many of the Ducati riders currently riding the new bike.

"I’m happy and proud of the work done, sincerely," said Bagnaia after day three. "Yesterday I was considering the job done at a good level, but today we were turning around the problem and in every area we worked. 

"In the last hour of the test we did a big change on the electronics and did an enormous step in front. 

"It’s quite clear on the lap time because with used tyres; after the change I did 1m 59.1/59.0s with used tyres and everything was solved. 

"I just did the two time attacks in the last part of the day before it started raining."

A strength of his and the Desmosedici GP22 throughout his title-winning season, Bagnaia was once again very strong when it came to time attack performance as he was just one of two riders to set a sub 1m 28s lap. 

Despite his obvious strengths, Bagnaia found the opening run challenging: "Like always the first time attack was not so easy to do because the area of pushing you have to do is on another limit. 

"But I feel great with the bike and in that moment I’m quite sure that I will follow, and I really want to follow the work with the 2023 [bike] because it’s a step in front."

Prior to his time attack runs, Bagnaia was struggling with throttle application, sliding and keeping the front tyre from coming off the ground. 

But with a big change taking place towards the end of the test, the Italian was left in a much better mood once the checkered flag came out. 

Francesco Bagnaia, Sepang MotoGP test, 12 February
Francesco Bagnaia, Sepang MotoGP test, 12 February

Bagnaia added: "Until the first exit after lunch I was struggling with the elevation because it was very nervous and it was very difficult to open full throttle because the bike was moving a lot and sliding a lot. 

"In the same moment that we solved it we changed that part of elevation and everything was like using the 2022 bike but with more speed. 

"Now my focus will be to make another step in front. The only thing that is missing is the handling because the handling of the 2022 bike was a bit easier. 

"This one is more aggressive and more nervous but it’s something we can focus on in Portimao which is very important."

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