Francesco Bagnaia believes he is already “on the correct line” after an eye-catching debut on MotoGP machinery at the two-day end of year test at Valencia.

The reigning Moto2 world champion took little time to adapt to the added power of Ducati’s GP18 machine, carbon brakes, Michelin rubber and the rest.

Indeed, he turned heads on Wednesday, placing 11th overall, his fastest time clocking in at just 0.6s off overall pace setter Maverick Viñales.

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“We worked on more feeling with the front in the last part of braking and also for turning more the bike,” said Bagnaia of his workload on Wednesday. “We have found something very important and very interesting. At the moment I’m very happy with the work done with the team and with the bike.

“I respect that Moto2 is completely different and I prefer this bike, most of all for the speed because it’s incredible when you are staring to brake. But we are in the correct line, we don’t have any pressure and we tried to be better every lap that I make. And the feeling is very good with everything.

“For sure we have to continue in this line, to understand more everything on the bike. I need to improve more on the braking, because I lose a little bit of time, not too much, but I continue losing time, like yesterday but today the feeling with the bike was much better. In Jerez for sure we will continue with this work.

“Both, working in morning with the bike and play with my riding style and in the last part of the day we worked on putting the bike on my direction.”

After two years in Moto2, where electronic aids are at a minimum, Bagnaia also began acclimatising to the complexities of Ducati’s MotoGP set-up.

“I have learned a little bit too much today on how to use electronics but I have good people around me,” he said. “My telemetry engineer is very professional and he knows very well how to work it and I have listened to him too much today.

“I started with more power to understand more the feeling with the gas and then we have put more traction to be faster.”

This was Bagnaia’s second opportunity to test a MotoGP machine. The first came at the same test two years ago, when he had recently completed his final race in Moto3. A ride on an Aspar Ducati was a reward for winning two races on the team’s Mahindra that year.

On whether he feels better prepared for the demands of a MotoGP machine now, Bagnaia said, “For me Moto2 is a very good school for MotoGP because you understand to manage better the tyres and also to lean on the bike.

“When you come from Moto3, you don’t know that because in the race you always give your best and you don’t have to think about losing grip. Today we worked more on closing more the line in the exit and it has been positive and a big improvement.

“For the next days of test I need to improve on braking point because I lose a little bit of time but I think that it’s normal and I’m very happy with the work done today with the team and with the bike.”

 

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