MotoGP: Francesco Bagnaia’s burst of form
Italian Francesco Bagnaia has emerged this year as an incredibly strong title contender.
Francesco Bagnaia has joined the factory Ducati squad this year and has emerged as a championship contender for Ducati, despite the Bologna team expecting the man on the other side of the garage (Jack Miller) to be the one scrapping it out for the 25 points.
Bagnaia has had a somewhat ‘disappointing’ start to his MotoGP career, underperforming in his rookie season in the Pramac team after winning the Moto2 title the year previous in a nearly faultless season, in 2018 he built up a reputation for himself as a rider who does not crash, finishing every single race of the season with no DNF’s winning the title in the process. Sadly in 2019 he completely destroyed this record taking 6 DNF’s including four in a row at Jerez, Le Mans, Mugello and Catalunya, it wasn’t the best start to his MotoGP career slogging his way home to P15 in the standings with 54 points in 18 races completed.
Only Marc Marquez on your tail there Pecco, no pressure.
2020 he had everything on the line to do better, there were rumours of him being moved into the Avintia team at the start of the season, however, by the end of the year he had signed to race for the prestigious factory Ducati team after taking his first podium in the premier class at Misano after missing 3 races due to an unfortunate injury. Bagnaia finished the season with 47 points and P16 overall in the 11 races he entered, taking 6 DNF’s and finishing just 5 races which on paper is actually a pretty appalling record.
Now his record doesn’t seem great, but when you counter in the fact that he spent much of the season injured after a crash in Brno which caused him to miss three races, the fact that he also did not have lady luck on his side suffering a DNF in Jerez due to a malfunction with his bike whilst running in P2, then a crash caused by ‘something on the track’ out of P1 in Misano taking 45+ points out of his pocket if you take into account the three races he missed. These 45 points would’ve pushed him up to P11 in the standings with 92 points to his name meaning he most likely could’ve had a very strong year but his luck decided against that unfortunately, not that it slowed him down. Ducati clearly saw something in him and chose to promote him over Johann Zarco into the factory squad.
We all know he’s fast, you don’t become a world champion by not being fast and thankfully now in 2021 he is proving this, after just three races Bagnaia already is 1 point off his 2020 points tally, currently sitting in P2 in the standings 15 points from Fabio Quartararo.
Bagnaia is another rider who rides the Desmo like a Moto2 bike.
Pecco is an incredibly fast, calculated and sensible rider, you never see him barging his way past riders, instead he likes to think about what he’s doing and work out his opponent’s weaknesses before striking when the iron is hot, he proved this in Portimao making up positions from P11 to P2 without causing anyone any problems. He is also incredibly fast over one lap and continues to set/break lap records and continually have them taken away from him as we saw in Misano and also Portimao this year.
The Francesco Bagnaia we are seeing in 2021 is strikingly similar to the Bagnaia we saw take the 2018 Moto2 World Championship, he is a demon on the brakes and an honour to watch him do what he does best, with 2 podiums to his name and a P6 already in 2021 he is only 1 point away from his entire 2020 points tally which is incredibly impressive. He continues to prove to everyone why Ducati chose him and not Zarco and we cannot wait to see him win his first race because at this point it’s not an ‘if’ but a ‘when’.
Featured images – Ducati Media