Francesco Bagnaia: 'It could have been one of our greatest last-lap battles…'

Francesco Bagnaia says the German MotoGP could have been one of the greatest last-lap battles between the reigning champion and Jorge Martin.

Francesco Bagnaia, 2024 German MotoGP
Francesco Bagnaia, 2024 German MotoGP

Francesco Bagnaia believes Jorge Martin’s crash from the German MotoGP race lead robbed fans of what could have been one of their greatest last-lap battles.

The reigning world champion trimmed Martin’s race lead down to just half a second as the penultimate lap began.

But a thrilling climax ended in a cloud of gravel dust when the Pramac Ducati rider suddenly crashed out at Turn 1.

“Today I was just trying to be very, very precise with the rear tyre because I knew that the more tyre I had in the last part of the race, the better,” explained Bagnaia.

The factory Ducati star took the early lead from Martin but had slipped to third behind Martin and his team-mate Franco Morbidelli by the middle stages.

“When both Pramacs overtook me, I saw they were pushing a bit too much. So I just decided to slow down a bit.

“But maybe I lost a too much time behind Franky, because then Jorge had built more than a one-second lead.

“So I tried to push back again to recover to Jorge.

“I was very close, but then he crashed, unluckily. I think it could have been one of the greatest battles between us in the last lap.”

Jorge Martin, Francesco Bagnaia, 2024 German MotoGP
Jorge Martin, Francesco Bagnaia, 2024 German MotoGP

Bagnaia admitted he was also on the limit in some of the hard braking zones.

“I was in this same situation, braking in some parts of the track was very difficult. Corner 1 and Corner 12 were very, very tricky. The front was moving a lot and was locking,” he said.

“But I’m so happy with my fourth win in a row on Sundays. For sure it’s the best way to go with a big smile into the summer break.”

Despite turning a 15-point deficit to Martin into a ten-point title lead, Bagnaia played down talk of labelling Sachsenring as the turning point of the season.

“I don't think so. I’m in this good mood from six or seven grand prix already. I’m feeling well and fantastic with my team,” he said. “We are doing a perfect job every weekend. We won five in these last six grand prix.

“But I don't think that also for Jorge [anything] will change. It will be like starting from zero again [at Silverstone] because we have ten points' gap and the championship is still very, very long. 

"It’s not time to think about a turning point of a championship. It’s too long.”

Asked to grade the opening nine rounds of the season, Bagnaia replied: “Nine. 

"Because I made some mistakes. I crashed in Portimao with Marc. I crashed in Barcelona when I was leading. 

"The worst one I think was Barcelona, when I crashed when I was leading with nine-tenths of a second on the last lap. This is why not it’s not a ten.”

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