After the disappointment of a DNF due to wing damage in Qatar, MotoGP rookie Francesco Bagnaia has made strides up the results sheets, with a 14th in Argentina being followed by ninth place at COTA.

The Pramac Ducati rider claimed his first premier-class top ten with a consistent performance in Austin, holding off Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone and then Takaaki Nakagami.

"It was a very long race because, at the start it was okay, but then I couldn't understand what the front tyre was saying to me. But I tried to push again and could keep the other riders behind me," Bagnaia said.

"I'm happy because it's my first top ten, I was expecting the top ten more in Argentina than here, because it's one of the hardest tracks for Ducati and not my favourite. So I'm happy because we worked very well this weekend and we have to continue like this."

The next event will be the opening European round at Jerez, where a winter test was held last November.

"I'm not expecting anything but I want to continue my progression, like this weekend," said Bagnaia. "With the team, we are understanding a lot of things. This is important and it will also be very important to finish the race again.

"Today I was P9, last time P14, so the progression is good and we have to continue in this direction."

Bagnaia is now second in the Rookie of the Year standings, eight points behind Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) who was the top newcomer at COTA in seventh place, 4.5s ahead of Bagnaia.

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