Bagnaia on title rivals: ‘Marquez, Enea not in the battle after what happened’

Francesco Bagnaia believes Marc Marquez and Enea Bastianini are not his main MotoGP rivals at the moment after picking up injuries in Portimao.
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Argentina 2023
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Argentina 2023

Bagnaia is instead looking at the two riders directly behind him in the MotoGP standings, those being Maverick Vinales and Marco Bezzecchi

Marquez and Bastianini, two riders pointed out by Bagnaia in the lead up to the season-opener last weekend, will miss this weekend’s Argentina Grand Prix after a broken shoulder blade caused by Luca Marini crashing into him led Bastianini to miss the Portuguese Grand Prix, while Marquez was forced to undergo surgery to his hand following a clash with Miguel Oliveira

"First of all, I want to wish them a speedy recovery. I hope to see them both soon," said Bagnaia. However, when discussing his main challengers going forward, the Italian added: "In this moment of the championship we don’t have to consider the men at home, but consider the riders here. Maverick and Marco are close to me. 

"I have to be focused on them. I have to not do stupid things because the championship is long, and it’s easy to lose points. It’s important to be consistent. 

"For sure, Marc and Enea are not in the battle now after what happened. But in this moment it’s too soon to think about the championship. 

"We have to consider the standings and Maverick and Bez are the closest ones. In August it will be more clear who the favourite is. Fabio’s pace in Portimao was competitive - we know he started badly and he’s behind in the fight, at the start, with the other bikes."

Bagnaia ‘curious’ for second MotoGP round of the year

While Portimao gave riders more prep for the Sprint race due to a pre-season test taking place two weekends before the opening round, Argentina provides the riders with no such luxury.

The new format will be an even greater challenge at a circuit that is known to be very dirty, especially early in the weekend which could cause issues during Friday practice.  

Ducati have also never won at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, making Bagnaia curious to see what he can achieve.

"I’m curious to start the weekend because last year we were competitive," added Bagnaia. "Ducati have never won here. Jack was always competitive, but every year we missed something.

"This year we can demonstrate if our potential is enough to be in front. The first day could be wet. Yesterday, the track was very dirty. We have to be prepared for everything."

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