Pecco Bagnaia on Ducati’s turnaround in Barcelona: “Biggest difference was the tyres”

Francesco Bagnaia admits Michelin’s 2024 tyre compounds provided the platform for them to be victorious in Barcelona.

Francesco Bagnaia Catalunya
Francesco Bagnaia Catalunya

Winless at the Catalunya MotoGP in 2023 as Aleix Espargaro did the double for Aprilia, Ducati reigned supreme during Sunday’s grand prix as they locked out the podium.

Francesco Bagnaia took victory after overtaking Jorge Martin with six laps to go, while Marc Marquez got the better of Espargaro with four laps remaining for P3.

Although Ducati didn’t appear to be the favourites on Friday, their performance got stronger and stronger as the weekend went on.

And Bagnaia hinted at one key area as to why they were dominant in Sunday’s grand prix.

The two-time MotoGP champion said: “For me, this year was different. I think that the tyres have helped us a lot. But already on Friday we could see that Marc’s pace, Jorge’s pace and my pace was competitive.

“So I think, in FP1 KTM were a bit stronger and Aprilia were stronger because the grip was very low when it was dirty, but from that we cleaned a bit and it was better.

“I didn’t change the set-up from the start of the weekend because I was settled with it and didn’t want to. The biggest change compared to last year was the tyres.”

In terms of the race itself, Bagnaia was smarter than Martin as he conserved more tyres in the early stages.

Able to close in late on, Bagnaia made his first overtake count as he sent a statement by overtaking at turn five, the same corner which was his undoing in the sprint.

“I started well and tried to set my pace but Jorge and Pedro were pushing a lot,” added Bagnaia.

“I tried to follow them for one lap but I felt that for my tyres it was a bit too much so I just waited a bit more.

“After ten laps I started gaining back the speed with Jorge. It wasn’t easy because managing the rear was a good thing but the front was dropping a lot so it wasn’t easy.

“But in the last part of the race I was able to be fast entering the corners. It was where the greatest [difference] between myself and Jorge.

“I’m very happy because after the sprint I was very angry and disappointed. It was important to do something in corner five to forgive what I did.

“Overtaking there was the best place because I was really strong in turn four on entry and with corner speed. I decided to go in there but was praying to not lose the front.”

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