Francesco Bagnaia will be looking to claim a third podium of 2021 during today’s MotoGP race at Jerez, while slowing down the Yamahas is the Italian’s early race strategy. 

Bagnaia has been mightily impressive this year in all facets of his riding, but particularly with his qualifying pace on the soft rear tyre. However, the 24 year-old was pipped to a front row start by team-mate Jack Miller, who followed the Italian in the process of setting his fastest lap.

Asked if he intentionally helped Miller during qualifying, Bagnaia said: "For sure it was better to start in the front row. I pushed alone to make it, and when I finished, I saw that Jack was behind me, and I was sure that with my slipstream he could do a better time. 

"But in any case, starting from P4 is not so bad. It's a track that costs more to the others to be fast, and today we achieved a good result in qualifying. 

"My pace with used tyres was not so bad. So we have to continue working on the pace. We have tomorrow morning to improve a bit my setup, but at the moment, I'm quite happy."

While race pace has looked strong for Bagnaia around the Andalusian circuit, it’s not been quite as fast as pole position man Fabio Quartararo, who starts as the clear race favorite.

Speaking about the race strategy, Bagnaia is hoping to get ahead of the Yamahas which has been a common theme in 2021 due to their front and rear start device, and ‘slow them down’ initially.  

"For sure the strategy will be to start better than the Yamaha and try to slow them down at the start, and maybe they will have to use more the rear tyre to try to overtake us," added the former Moto2 world champion. 

"But let's wait for tomorrow, it's difficult to prognosticate a strategy at the moment. I will try to start as well as possible and try to put myself in front. 

"My pace is not so bad, but they have a bit more traction than us at the moment, and we are working on it because it's very important to remain more constant and with more grip. 

"They can use more the initial grip of the tyres. It's something that we need to work more tomorrow."

It wasn’t the smoothest of sessions heading into qualifying for Bagnaia, as he suffered a problem early on in the FP4 session just as Miller did. 

"Yes, we had a little problem that cost some minutes of FP4, but then everything was OK. So we started with this problem, but then I tried to set my pace," added Bagnaia. 

"It was not so easy to come back on track and be fast at the start, but we managed to do it. We saw a lot of riders with new tyres in FP4, that is pretty strange because normally a lot of riders use used tyres. 

"At the moment the Yamahas - Fabio and Franco [Morbidelli], have a better pace than us, I think two or three tenths more."

 

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