One week after his first MotoGP podium, Francesco Bagnaia was just seven laps away from a debut premier-class victory at the same Misano circuit when disaster struck on Sunday.

The Pramac Ducati rider, who was holding a safe advantage over Maverick Vinales, suddenly lost the front through the Turn 6 right-hander and was sent sliding off into the gravel.

"The first thing I thought when I crashed was I really wanted the bike to be taken to the box soon to see what happened. Because it was too strange, the crash," Bagnaia said.

"I was completely under control with my gap with Maverick, I was controlling him with the pace. He was pushing a lot for sure, and I was going very smart to control the gap. And the crash has been incredible, because looking at the data, the speed was the same, the lean angle was the same, the gas was the same, the line was the same...

"So it looks like I touched something, like a tear-off or something dirty on track. The only thing can be this, because [if] it's not something like this, I'm a little bit scared for the next races, because crashing like this without any warning from the lap before is very strange."

If it was a tear-off, it would mean both Pramac riders were eliminated by a piece of transparent plastic, with team-mate Jack Miller forced to retire after one of Fabio Quartararo's tear-offs was sucked into his engine intake during the race, blocking the air filter.

Either way, it was an extremely disappointing end to the race, with Bagnaia having been on course to make history as the first satellite Ducati rider to win a MotoGP.

"For the first time I was very strong in every session… losing the race like this is very very disappointing," he said.

It's also not the first major disappointment Bagnaia has suffered this season, losing a podium at Jerez due to engine problems, then fracturing his leg in practice at Brno.

But despite still walking with the aid of crutch, the young Italian was head-and-shoulders clear of the other Ducati riders in terms of speed in both Misano races.

"Compared to the other Ducatis, I'm stronger in the first part of braking and the entry," Bagnaia said. "I can recover a lot of gap with respect to the other bikes, to Yamaha, to Suzuki.

"And then the engine is incredible, so I can use the tyre less on the edge, opening the gas carefully, because our engine is so powerful, it's too powerful. And I can manage the rear grip better with these things.

"But I think that the point, at the moment where I am beating the other Ducati riders, is just in the braking and in the entry… I'm not struggling with the turning of the bike."

The good news for Bagnaia is that he'll be back on track to try again in just five days' time, when free practice begins in Catalunya.

"After a weekend like this, I really need a race as soon as possible!" he said. "Because losing the race like I lost today is not good for me, so I'm very happy that the next track is more suitable for our bike and is a track that I really like.

"I really hope to be fast on the first day. I think that's very important because we are losing a lot of points. The only good thing is that I am strong. And without the engine failure in Jerez and the result of today, the standings would be different.

"But it's better not to think about that, and just concentrate on being fast like this weekend in all the rest of the season."

Bagnaia starts the second half of the world championship holding 15th in the standings, 55 points behind factory Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso, who was just eighth in Sunday's race.

 

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