Bagnaia unsettled at Phillip Island and jokes soft tyre woes are “for the show”

Francesco Bagnaia admits his poor run of form with the soft rear tyre needs to change after struggling again during practice at the Australian MotoGP.
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Phillip Island 2023
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Phillip Island 2023

Like In Mandalika last weekend, Bagnaia will need to go through Q1 after narrowly missing out on a Q2 spot.

While title rival Jorge Martin made it safely into the top ten, Bagnaia spent nearly the entirety of Practice 2 way down the order.

Joking about his soft tyre woes after the session, Bagnaia told “It’s for the show. I was feeling good before putting on the soft [rear tyre]. 

“With the medium my pace was good and I was doing a really good job with the bike. But as soon as I put the soft I started to struggle a lot in acceleration and in entry to the fast corners. 

“Maybe it was better to put the soft at the start of the session like other riders, but it was not our strategy. 

“We will see what happens in the morning and try to enter into Q2. The conditions tomorrow can change a lot and it will be very important to start at the front.”

Bagnaia ‘never surprised’ by riders following him

At the end of Practice 2 Bagnaia had a big group of riders following him, one of which was Martin who had to overtake Joan Mir to get himself directly behind his rival.

Bagnaia, who has let such tactics rattle him in the past, said he wasn’t surprised that many elected to use him as a reference.

“I’m never surprised about riders; he [Martin] wasn't the only one,” said Bagnaia. “It was ridiculous like a Moto3 session. 

“I was not expecting to see ten riders waiting but it’s not the first time it happened. Many riders are doing that. My thinking is not the same as theirs but it’s something that can happen.”

If Bagnaia managed to get through to Q2, then chances of him fighting for victory will be very high as he’s won on the last two occasions he’s been in Q1.

That included winning from 13th on the grid at Mandalika, although the reigning world champion does not want to make a habit out of slow starts on Fridays.

“I’m always optimistic but it cannot happen every weekend,” added Bagnaia. “It’s not just Mandalika, there are too many weekends where we are struggling too much on Friday.”

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