Bagnaia ‘thinking about myself’ despite Quartararo qualifying P15

Despite Fabio Quartararo starting the Emilia-Romagna MotoGP from P15 - his worst qualifying since joining the premier class in 2019, pole sitter for Sunday’s race Francesco Bagnaia has the same objective as before the weekend began; ‘the only thing I can do to keep the championship open is trying to win’.
Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP, Emilia-Romagna MotoGP 23 October 2021
Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP, Emilia-Romagna MotoGP 23 October 2021
© Gold and Goose

Francesco Bagnaia will start the fourth consecutive MotoGP since Silverstone from pole after getting the better of team-mate Jack Miller and impressive rookie Luca Marini during Q2 at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. 

Bagnaia, who had to go through Q1 for just the third time this season, made the most of the extra time on-track by immediately setting the pace from Iker Lecuona, who also advanced through Q1. 

It wasn’t until the final few minutes that Miller got within two tenths of Bagnaia’s pole time, before that margin then got reduced to just +0.025s. 

Marini also got within a tenth late on, but like Miller he was unable to better his fellow VR46 academy rider.

Although Bagnaia’s Q2 time was three tenths better than that of Q1, the Ducati rider felt he was struggling ‘a bit more’. As to why Bagnaia needed to go through Q1 in the first place - a change to new tyres in FP3 backfired as he overheated the rear tyre.

But with that said, it was another incredible performance from MotoGP’s most in-form rider since the summer break. 

Speaking about his action-packed day, Bagnaia added: "This morning my feeling with the wet was okay. But then we put in new tyres; I started with used tyres, but when we put the new tyres I was struggling a lot. 

"I overheated the rear tyre too much and it was very difficult to have traction. So, I didn’t manage to be in the top ten. 

"But, I think in this condition it’s maybe better to be in the Q1 because in the FP4 I was feeling great, I was doing laps and the consistency was okay. Then in Q1 I just tried all the session riding and the confidence was better every lap. 

"In Q2 I just tried to set a good time. I was thinking it was not enough because in the second time-attack I was struggling a bit more, but finally, I got pole and I’m very happy about it. It’s the best way to finish this Saturday."

While his second consecutive pole at Misano was much needed in regards to giving himself the best possible chance at victory - would also keep the title fight alive - the biggest story from today was Fabio Quartararo suffering his worst qualifying of the year. 

The Yamaha man failed to get through Q1 and will start P15, which in-turn has given Bagnaia a wonderful opportunity of clawing a decent haul of points back on his title rival. 

But despite Quartararo being out of position, the goal hasn’t changed for the Italian who is sure to have support from other Ducati’s around him. 

"I was needing to push if Fabio started P2, but I think I have to push the same now that he’s 15th," said Bagnaia.  

"The only thing that I can do to keep the championship open is trying to win tomorrow. The objective would be the same even if Fabio was starting further in front. 

"I don’t know Fabio’s mindset at the moment. For sure Fabio will be strong and will come back, but I’m just thinking about myself and I will give my all to stay in front. 

"It won’t be easy because we haven’t done so many laps with used tyres. It will be very difficult and very tricky. 

"Also we have to look at the conditions. Tomorrow morning will be wet and it takes a lot of time to dry."

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