di Giannantonio “getting closer”, Bezzecchi “difficult to be happy with 8th”

Fabio di Giannantonio claims first top six as a VR46 rider, Marco Bezzecchi 'cannot pretend to be at the front'.

Fabio Di Giannantonio, MotoGP, Grand Prix of the Americas, 12 April
Fabio Di Giannantonio, MotoGP, Grand Prix of the Americas, 12 April

With Marc Marquez in the gravel, Fabio di Giannantonio was the top GP23 rider across the finish line un Sunday’s COTA MotoGP race.

The VR46 rider collected a season-best sixth place behind the factory GP24s of Enea Bastianini, Jorge Martin and Francesco Bagnaia.

Although a distant 9.980s from Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales, Diggia was over 20-seconds faster than his own COTA race time for Gresini last year (when he had been +27-seconds from winner Alex Rins).

“I'm really happy,” said di Giannantonio, who had been forced to retire from the Saturday Sprint with an opening lap engine failure.

“I think I've done about five laps in total from the three Sprints this year and without having information from the Sprint, it's always difficult to have a good Grand Prix race now with the level in MotoGP.

“Also in warm-up I was not that happy with the feeling, so I arrived to the race thinking, ‘OK, let's give our maximum and see what happens’. But the race was really good, honestly.

“The start went well, but the first corner was not that good,” added the Italian, who slipped from eighth to tenth on the opening lap, “then I did a couple of good overtakes on guys that are strong in braking, like Jack and Morbidelli. So I enjoyed that.

“After that I was going quite fast, I had decent pace. But it was just not enough to arrive to the top guys. But I'm happy. We go home with a third top ten, this time is a top six.

“We are getting closer and closer, also with the team we know each other more and more.”

COTA also marked the second time in the three races that di Giannantonio has beaten team-mate and triple 2023 race winner Marco Bezzecchi, eighth on Sunday.

It's not a thing I really look at that much, honestly, because I'm more focused on trying to be the best Diggia possible. Because I think the best Diggia possible could win races,” said di Giannantonio, winner last season in Qatar.

“Also with Bez, we talk a lot. When we have time to share comments, we share comments. So honestly, we are working together. So it's not the main thing at the moment to think about the team-mate.”

Marco Bezzecchi, MotoGP, Grand Prix of the Americas, 13 April
Marco Bezzecchi, MotoGP, Grand Prix of the Americas, 13 April

Bezzecchi - who was leading the world championship this time last year - has been making gradual progress in adapting to the revised cornering style of the GP23 but confessed it’s “difficult to be happy with 8th”.

“We cannot pretend to be at the front seeing the level we have right now but in many parts of the riding I’m improving a lot,” he added.

“So there are many positive points this weekend. Not the result I wanted, but it’s a start.”

Although he didn't match the level of di Giannantonio's year-on-year improvement, Bezzecchi was four seconds faster than his 2023 COTA race time, when he finished in sixth place.

VR46 is thought to be trying to secure at least one factory-spec machine from Ducati for 2025.

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