Bagnaia: “It was important to win this battle against Jorge”

Francesco Bagnaia managed to stop Jorge Martin’s recent trend of gaining points back in the MotoGP standings after overcoming the Spaniard at Sepang.
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Sepang 2023
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Sepang 2023

Like in Saturday’s sprint, Martin attempted to overtake the reigning MotoGP champion, however, Bagnaia didn’t let the Pramac rider have the last laugh.

Three overtakes were tried by Martin, but Bagnaia responded immediately on every occasion. 

Speaking after the race, Bagnaia said: “Jorge was very good on the entry to corner 14 and I thought he would overtake, so I just tried to cross the line. 

“It was very important to not let him be in front. Also, I was not expecting his pace to be like it was. It was important to win the battle against him.”

Recent races had been a problem for Bagnaia, especially when it came to fighting Martin due to his below par qualifying.

But after claiming a seventh pole of the season, Bagnaia was pleased to have rediscovered his one lap pace.

“I’m happy,” began the factory Ducati rider. “Overall we managed to finally find our performance in one lap. It was since Barcelona that I wasn’t in pole position and it was very important. 

“I tried to do everything today but the battle with Jorge lost us a lot of time. I tried to push and catch these two guys but it was very risky. 

“The most important thing was to finish ahead of Jorge without both of us having problems. 

“I already beat him in the last races but he was always having some issues. This was the first time since Austria that I beat him in the same conditions.” 

Although Bagnaia had no say in the fight for victory, the Italian was one of three riders that set a stunning pace.

The type of pace that led to the Malaysian MotoGP being 15 seconds quicker than last season. 

Surprised with how much the pace has been moved forward in 2023, Bagnaia added: “I’m always surprised with the pace we are having in the races this season. 

“What was super fast last year is normal this year. Today we finished the race 15 seconds faster than last year.  We increased a lot the performance this year.”

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