Francesco Bagnaia believes upgrading to the Ducati GP20 will not only benefit his weaknesses but is also an improvement on the Italian manufacturer’s own key areas.

The 2018 Moto2 world champion moves up from a Ducati GP18 to a factory-specification GP20 this season as competition within the Ducati ranks hots up with Bagnaia joining Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller on the latest-spec machinery.

Effectively jumping up two specifications of bike, Bagnaia feels the gains with the GP20 in both turning and braking are clear as he demonstrated his confidence by surging to fourth place on the timesheet on the final day of the Sepang pre-season test just 0.153s off pace-setter Fabio Quartararo.

“The new bike I prefer because Ducati has improved the points where I was losing time last year,” Bagnaia said. “So, in the braking I am stronger than last year, as last year I was losing a lot of time in the braking, so this is a good point.

“Another thing that I like is that this bike is turning more and that is something Ducati has been reaching for a lot of times. I am happy to ride this bike and find a good setting and a good base for the next test.”

Bagnaia has conceded he’s still searching for greater consistency with his race pace which is a clearer indication of the MotoGP pecking order compared to the qualifying-style single lap times.

“I think that in making one lap we are all very fast riders so that is normal for the time attack that everything can go fast but the point where you have to learn more and to work more is the pace,” he said. “I have to learn more and to be faster on the pace. My race simulation has been good but we have to be faster in a race simulation.

“I think with the motivation of a race I can be faster but if the qualifying had been here I would start fourth and the race was tomorrow I would be looking to get a top 10 objective that I think we could reach and be very close to the other Ducatis so we are happy about that.”

Bagnaia also impressed at the Sepang test 12 months ago as a rookie, ending the test second overall just behind Danilo Petrucci, but struggled to replicate those results during the season as he ended the year 15th overall in the MotoGP riders’ world championship.

Bagnaia and the rest of the MotoGP grid returns to action for the final pre-season test at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit on February 22-24.

 

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