Francesco Bagnaia

Francesco Bagnaia
Nickname: 
Pecco
Country: 
Italy
Birth Date: 
14 January, 1997
Birth Place: 
Turin, Italy

Francesco Bagnaia Biography

A star youngster in Minimoto and European MiniGP racing, at 13 Francesco Bagnaia stepped up to pre-GP 125cc racing and finished runner-up with the Monlau Competicion team.

An early member of the VR46 academy, he finished third in the 2012 CEV Moto3 season behind Alex Marquez and Luca Amato. That secured him a full-time move to the Moto3 world championship but endured a tough rookie campaign with San Carlo Team Italia as he failed to score a single point.

A move to the new Sky VR46 squad, through his links to Rossi’s academy, allowed the Italian to demonstrate his talents on KTM machinery with five top-ten results from the opening seven rounds but his year was stalled by a left wrist injury suffered in warm-up at Assen which ruled him out of two races. Bagnaia would only return to the points in two races for the rest of 2014.

For 2015, Bagnaia made the move to Mahindra and another solid start to a season culminated in a maiden Moto3 podium with third place at Le Mans. Sticking with Mahindra for 2016, Bagnaia became a regular front-runner in a season which included two wins at Assen and Sepang, four additional podiums and a maiden pole position. Bagnaia ended the year in fourth place in the standings before moving up to Moto2.

Bagnaia returned to the Sky VR46 team fold in his debut Moto2 campaign and starred as top rookie in 2017 with four rostrums on his way to fifth place in the riders’ championship.

Sticking with VR46 in Moto2 for 2018, Bagnaia was fancied as a title favourite and delivered in dominant fashion with a total of eight race wins and three further rostrums. The Italian sealed the Moto2 title at the penultimate round in Sepang to mark the VR46’s biggest title triumph.

Bagnaia also secured a move up to MotoGP with Pramac Ducati for 2019, racing GP18 machinery.

Joining Joan Mir, Miguel Oliveira, Fabio Quartararo and Iker Lecuona on a strong rookie entry list, Bagnaia began the season with a nightmare five DNFs from seven races. While future title rival Quartararo was already claiming poles and podiums, Bagnaia settled into solid points finishes during the second half of the season, culiminating in a fourth place in Australia, a fraction from the podium. Then came a bizare braking incident at the end of pit lane at Valencia, which ruled him out of the race.

Remaining with Pramac, but now on the latest GP20 machinery, equal to team-mate Jack Miller, Bagnaia was on course for a debut podium in the second of the Covid delayed Jerez season-openers, only to suffer a late engine problem. Things got even worse when he fractured his leg next time at Brno, ruling him out of two further rounds, but he put it all behind him with a dream podium on his comeback at Misano.

Bagnaia looked on course to win the following weekend's second event, only to fall, but Ducati had seen enough to hand him the factory team seat vacated by Andrea Dovizioso for 2021 with rival contender Johann Zarco given Bagnaia's seat at Pramac. But the end of the season was a dispointment for Bagnaia with just one 11th place finish from the last five rounds, as he struggled to build vital temperature in the front tyre during the cool autumn conditions, causing numeous crashes.

It meant Bagnaia went into his debut 2021 factory Ducati season, alongside Jack Miller, with just one podium to his credit - but went on to lead 34% of the racing laps - more than world champion Fabio Quartararo - on his way to title runner-up.

Soon thriving in the factory environment, Bagnaia took three podiums from the opening four rounds putting him just a single point behind Quartararo heading to his home Mugello round.

The Italian race was to be a pivotal moment for Bagnaia's title aspirations. Favourite for a debut victory, but with his head full of emotions after a minute of silence for Jason Dupasquier just before the start, Bagnaia fell from the lead on only the second lap.

Bagnaia would be forced to wait four months to finally become a MotoGP race winner, courtesy of a thrilling victory over a lunging Marc Marquez at Aragon. It kicked off a peerless end-of-season run that saw four wins in six races, a fall while leading at Misano and third place in COTA.

While the Misano crash - the consequence of Ducati's hard front-tyre choice in the cool conditions, catching out team-mate Miller in identical fashion - officially settled the championship, Bagnaia had also been the innocent victim of tyre performance issues at Silverstone (14th).

Nonetheless, the magnitude of the progress made by Bagnaia this season was remarkable.

A rider that was ranked just 15th and 16th in the world championship during his previous (injury-interrupted) MotoGP seasons, eclipsing all but Quartararo and finishing a massive 71-points clear of experienced Ducati team-mate Jack Miller.

But it was Bagnaia's incessant speed at all tracks from Assen onwards - he qualified on the front row throughout the last ten rounds, the springboard for leading 150 laps compared with 99 for next best Quartararo - that will have his rivals worried for 2022.

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