Francesco Bagnaia had 10 minutes to adjust to totally new strategy in Qatar

Francesco Bagnaia's ‘completely different ways’ of attacking Qatar weekend analysed in detail

Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP, Qatar MotoGP, 8 March
Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP, Qatar MotoGP, 8 March

Francesco Bagnaia won the Qatar MotoGP after adjusting to a completely new set-up and strategy in just a few minutes.

Bagnaia emerged with unexpected concerns over his Ducati GP24 after a disappointing P4 finish in Saturday’s sprint.

But, after a masterclass in solving problems through data, Ducati rejigged his bike for Sunday allowing reigning champion Bagnaia to cruise to victory.

Bagnaia explained to TNT Sports: “I tried to be first as soon as possible. It was the strategy.

“Because if you start well and you are first, you can manage everything better.

“I knew my pace was strong enough to open a gap so I tried to do it.

“My team did a really good job from [Saturday] evening. The sprint race was a good lesson to learn the limit of our bike.

“This bike is a bit different in terms of performance. You do the lap time in a different way.

“The two races were done in completely different ways.

[In the sprint] I did a lot of corner speed and [in the grand prix] completely the opposite, just with the braking.

“So, it was interesting to understand. My team have a lot of data to understand.

“It’s very useful for the rest of the championship.”

His ‘completely different ways’ of attacking the sprint and grand prix were then analysed.

Michael Laverty said: “You’ve got 22 litres of fuel. One litre per lap. You’ve got to manage that.

“You’ve got 800 grams, roughly, of rear tyre. Managing that over distance is crucial.

“He was making the lap time by going as deep as he could, on the brakes, to gain a millisecond there. That doesn’t use much tyre.

“Whereas [in the sprint] he was rolling through the corners, using rubber to make the bike turn, to chase the lap time, bringing the temperature up which was actually dropping his performance.

“So they figured things out. They used the 40 grabs of rubber perfectly per lap, same with the one litre of fuel. It’s mathematics!

“That’s where Ducati are really on top of their game. Bagnaia is a mathematician - he calculates it all out, knows what he can throw at it, and whenever he performs like that it is a joy to watch.”

Sylvain Guintoli added: “This track is very unique for the championship.

“So I think it was a specific solution for the problems encountered here.

“But it shows the power that Ducati have with their data to solve problems, and the ability of Pecco to adapt.

“They decided together that they could not sustain performance for the race by using that much rear tyre.

“They changed the geometry of the bike to make it more efficient in the braking zone, and told Pecco ‘you need to generate the lap time in the braking zones’. That’s easily said…

“It’s hard to do that without compromising corner speed and exit. He adjusted very quickly - just in the warm-up basically, for 10 minutes, to a new way of generating lap time to win the race. That’s pretty amazing.”

Bagnaia, who has won the MotoGP title in each of the past two seasons, ends the first round of 2024 on top of the standings.

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