Francesco Bagnaia leaves Qatar fourth in the championship standings, but rues mistake that cost him the chance to fight for victory. 

The Italian had an uncharacteristically poor start as he struggled to deploy his start device. It meant Bagnaia slipped from sixth to 12th by the end of lap one. 

However, the former Moto2 champion was impressive as he quickly came back through the field and up to third place behind Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco

But just as the race came into its crucial final laps, Bagnaia made a mistake heading into turn one, an error that not only cost him the chance at victory, but also the podium. 

Bagnaia called the mistake ‘unacceptable’ as a factory rider, saying: "I have to learn. In a factory team these type of errors are unacceptable. 

"Without this I was fighting for the top positions. I didn’t struggle more than Pramac, but the result isn’t on the same line as my riding today, I think." 

Speaking about the start and what exactly happened, the Italian said: "I just struggled more because I was starting 6th. My start device didn’t work well as I wasn’t able to put it in. 

"Then I started to recover and my pace was really strong today. I think I was able to manage a great pace and I recovered a lot of positions. This confidence I had with the bike made me make an error in turn 1."

Given how quickly Bagnaia regained the positions he lost, a podium certainly looked to be on the cards. 

The 24 year-old believes he had the pace to win when following Zarco, but the error came after eventual race winner Fabio Quartararo had gone past. 

"I started to think it was possible to win the race when I was behind Zarco. I was controlling them and I was trying to let the rear tyre breathe," said Bagnaia. 

"It was important to arrive at the end of the race to let the rear tyre breathe. But then Fabio overtook me. I was in the tunnel of slipstream behind Zarco, and when I braked it was impossible to stop. 

"These are big mistakes I can’t repeat for sure. These mistakes cost me the podium."

While it will be disappointing for Bagnaia to have not taken at least one win at a circuit that’s been very fortuitous for Ducati, he leaves Doha fourth in the standings 16 points behind the ultra consistent Zarco. 

But as we’ve seen, Ducati are not the only team to enjoy the bright lights of Qatar, as Yamaha took both race wins. 

And having competed strongly against both Maverick Vinales and Quartararo over these two weeks, Bagnaia has been able to analyse where the Yamahas are strong and where Ducati have the advantage for future races. 

"For sure Yamaha has worked a lot this winter. We’ve seen 2 races and 2 victories. Their bike is very competitive and It’s a track where they’re really strong," added Bagnaia.

"We can use the power in the straight and in the last part of acceleration, but they can turn the bike. Their bikes are very balanced. 

"This weekend Yamaha was so strong in the exit. Last week I was losing time to Maverick in acceleration. This week it was difficult to overtake Fabio on the straight. 

"We have to continue working and these 2 races have given me a lot of data to learn. I’m happy about that, but I’m not happy about the result. I thought it was possible to finish on the podium and we wanted something more."

 

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