“Overconfident and screws it up” - Bagnaia responds to Rossi comments

Francesco Bagnaia has responded to Valentino Rossi’s joke which implied that the reigning MotoGP champion ‘screws up’ the race if he starts the weekend in good shape.
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Valencia
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Valencia

This all stems from the last few rounds where, in America, Bagnaia was the clear-cut favourite from FP1 onwards before going on to crash out of the lead during the Grand Prix.

Bagnaia did win the Sprint race the day before, however, it was another fall after previously crashing out of second in Argentina, while 2022 also saw Bagnaia make mistakes on occasion when at the front of the field.

But in Jerez last time out, Bagnaia instead struggled through practice before finding his way in qualifying and both races.

Second in the Sprint was backed up by victory in the main race, which is why Rossi said: “If he starts strong, gets pole, dominates and all that, then his cockiness gets the better of him [laughs]. He gets overconfident and screws it up.”

Bagnaia was shown this clip during the pre-event press conference, and while the Italian denied that to be the case, it was a light hearted moment as Bagnaia was seen laughing when watching his mentor speak.

The factory Ducati rider added: "I prefer to start like in Austin! I don’t think that I get distracted in the race. We always have a lot of jokes with Vale. 

"I don’t think it was a distraction. In any case, from all mistakes you can learn so maybe I can improve. I was happy to see Vale back in the Ducati box.

"The potential of our bike is great. We can fight for top positions but we have to be careful and calm to understand everything. It is easy to commit a mistake like I did last year."

The world champion, who has won four races from eight so far this season - two in the Sprint and two Grand Prix’ - was also asked about fans and their perception of a world champion.

At the recent Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix, Max Verstappen was booed by some sections of the crowd which is nothing new to the Red Bull driver. Verstappen even acknowledged it as something that’s okay so long as he’s winning because fans don’t always want the best driver to win.

But Bagnaia, who is considered to be the best rider in MotoGP at the moment given his results, admitted he’s never faced such scenarios. 

"I never heard these things," said Bagnaia. "It is normal when you win, and you win like Verstappen is doing, you have more problems. Half and half of the public are with you or without you. 

"We clearly remember what happened in Valencia 2015. Still now, it is the same. It is normal when you are the champion, when you win, it was always like this."

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