Bagnaia still missing '100% potential of this bike, but my pace is strong'

Francesco Bagnaia believes the best is yet to come from his Desmosedici GP22 after finishing tenth during day two of Mandalika MotoGP testing; 'Today we were one of the strongest with the pace, but I’m not at 100% of the potential of this bike'. 
Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP, Indonesian MotoGP test, 11 February 2022
Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP, Indonesian MotoGP test, 11 February 2022
© Gold and Goose

While Francesco Bagnaia’s overall position might not look too impressive, last season’s MotoGP runner-up feels he is getting stronger with every day of testing.

After languishing down in 18th for much of the afternoon, Bagnaia jumped up to tenth during the closing stages which marked his second best finish of the four test days thus far - claimed sixth on day two in Sepang.

But with that said, the primary focus for Bagnaia over these opening two days in Mandalika has been squarely on setting up his Desmosedici GP22 for race performance as opposed to one lap where he was so strong in 2021.

Bagnaia, who completed the most laps of any rider during Saturday’s action, felt he was one of the strongest riders when it came to race pace, which included representative simulations on both the medium and soft tyres.  

"I think that today we were one of the strongest with the pace, because this morning we worked with the medium, and with the medium I was doing 32.7, 32.8, 32.7, like this."

As a reference the best race run was set by Fabio Quartararo as his 15 lap stint averaged out to a time of 1m 32.3s. While that would suggest Quartararo having four tenths advantage, the tyre life of their stints was not confirmed, meaning Bagnaia could have been on older rubber.

Bagnaia continued: "This afternoon with more temperature and the soft, we managed to do 30 laps with the soft, and the last lap was two tenths slower than the fastest lap. 

"So we were working on being as constant as possible, and we are very competitive. I think the only two riders that did the same work as me was [Marc] Marquez and Mir today, maybe also Pol Espargaro. 

"We just focused on doing laps with used tyres. I saw that other riders have done two or three time attacks today. So it was not our strategy, we prefer to work more with used tyres and other tyres. But our pace, my pace was very strong."

While Bagnaia’s pace has been unspectacular since pre-season testing began, his feeling with the new GP22 bike continues to get better.

The Italian claimed to have made another step during today’s action, although he’s still yet to extract the true potential of the bike.   

Bagnaia said: "Yeah, we are doing a great step every day. Also today we did another one. I found it well. Not at 100% of the potential of this bike, because I think the potential is higher. 

"But we found something good, and we are now at 80% of the maximum potential of this bike, I think. So we still have work to do. 

"The worst thing is that we have just one more day of testing and it looks like it could rain tomorrow. 

"So it will not be easy to define a good base to start the season, but with the work done these days, I think we found something good and it can help us in Qatar. At this moment the potential is good, but we still need something more."

On the other side of the Lenovo Ducati garage Jack Miller only managed 20th, however, the Australian didn’t set his best time at the end when track conditions were at their best.

Like Bagnaia, it was another extensive day of testing the Bologna-based manufacturer’s high quantity of new parts. 

Miller alluded to feeling ‘relatively good’ about where the bike is headed and that it’s just the set-up that needs tweaking ahead of Qatar. 

"We got a fair few items out of the way today, so I feel relatively good," added Miller. "There are some areas that we need to work on in terms of just my bike set-up in general. 

"We haven't really played around with the bike set-up for this test, for this track, and I'm starting to struggle. The more we get closer and closer and the times get tighter and tighter, we're going to have to start playing with some basic setup now and get the bike to where it's comfortable. 

"Because I'm losing quite a bit of time in sector 2, so I know what we need to do to try to improve that. 

"So tomorrow is sort of like a fake sort of Friday into Saturday. We've got all the information from today and now we need to try to find a solution overnight to fix the problems that I'm having."

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