Francesco Bagnaia secured his best finish of the 2021 MotoGP season with second place at Portimao, a result that sees him improve from fourth to second in the riders championship. 

Following a crash for fellow Ducati rider Johann Zarco whilst battling for second with Bagnaia, and a disappointing outing for Maverick Vinales, the Italian now sits 15 points back from Quartararo. 

Bagnaia had great pace throughout the race - pace even to match Quartararo at times, but starting from 11th meant any chance of victory was slim which he believes was lost ‘yesterday’ after having his pole lap deleted. 

"I think today the maximum result possible was the second position because Fabio in front was with a big gap to recover. In any case, we lost yesterday the possibility to try and win," added Bagnaia. 

"Today Fabio set a really strong pace and I think no one was expecting a pace like this. But today the grip was very high and also the tyres were working really well. 

"I think we did an amazing job, and I’m very happy because maybe in a situation like this last year we would not have been here.

"So I improved a bit my riding style in this situation and I overtook a lot of riders in some corners that I was thinking was difficult to do it."

Just like in Qatar, the final lap saw a battle for the podium ensue between Bagnaia and Suzuki rider Joan Mir

And while the result of Bagnaia coming out on top was the same, he didn’t need the Ducati power to overhaul the 2020 world champion. 

Mir was hot on the Italian’s gearbox, and looked to be shaping up a move heading into the final corner, however, Bagnaia was able to resist the attempt and instead secure a career matching best second place.  

Asked about the battle, the 2018 Moto2 world champion said: "I was thinking that Joan [Mir] was on my rear because I was hearing him so close. 

"I was thinking that if I was in front until the last corner it was impossible for him to overtake me because our engine is very strong. 

"The last lap I made a good lap. So I was thinking that it would be harder for him to overtake me."

The two podiums in three races results in this being by far Bagnaia’s best start to a MotoGP season. 

However, the Italian is yet to taste victory and was asked whether he feels a win is close, and if this start has made him think about a championship challenge.  

Bagnaia said: "I hope soon! (regarding first win). But I think it is too soon to speak about the championship. 

"This year my objective is to be constant like this everywhere. In this circuit I did it, as last year here I was last. I think we have made a great step in front, but it is too soon to speak about the championship. 

"I’m just happy to be second at the moment and I would like to continue this way."

 

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