The image of Pecco Bagnaia, on the gravel of Motegi next to his fallen motorcycle, applauding, has been interpreted in a thousand different ways. The runner himself wanted to settle the issue by ensuring that “I applauded myself for the stupidity I had just committed”, but there are not a few who believe that the pilot gives a light version of his true thought, that the Ducati ‘applauded’ Fabio Quartararo’s skill in closing the door on the tiny hole through which Pecco’s imagination believed his Ducati could fit.
A week after all that, the Italian rider, who is now 18 points behind the championship-leading Frenchman, was still mulling things over ahead of the Thai Grand Prix.
“Honestly, I keep thinking about what happened in Japan and analyzing what happened,” he confessed.
“We have to understand why we were losing so much time, I got stuck behind Pol Espargaró and it was impossible for me to overtake him, we have to find something to help us in that regard,” he asked.
“It was a strange weekend, in the wet things were difficult for me in which, in the past, we were more competitive,” he suggested.
Immersed in the fight for the championship, Bagnaia’s five victories this season are seriously overshadowed by as many zeros, plus a 15th place in Indonesia , in a first half of the season that, it seemed, was already part of the past.
“My goal was to overtake Fabio, it was just one more point (in the general standings), but it was important for the championship. I was ambitious, I tried from too far, and when I saw that I couldn’t overtake him I tried to stop the bike and I I fell,” he said.
“You always have to look at the positive in difficulties. It’s good to analyze today to understand what happened, but now I’ve forgotten about it and I’m going to focus on looking forward,” he concluded.
Accustomed to fighting for victories since Assen , Bagnaia arrived at that situation fighting with Quartararo for eighth place due to the difficulties he encountered during the weekend.
“It is difficult to know what happened, we understand that in some circumstances you have to push at the same level and I was not able to do it, I was behind someone who was slower under braking and I could not pass him.”
As he himself confessed, in the wet conditions in Japan the bike was not going like on other occasions and this weekend, the weather will be unstable again.
“Compared to last year the only thing that changes in the wet is the balance of the bike, that’s why it’s a bit more difficult for me. The difficult thing is that we didn’t have as many wet sessions during the year, so when I arrived in Japan I didn’t feel the tires and that way it costs me more. The team has ideas to change the transfer of weights and I hope that will help me”, he resigned himself.
Also Buriram’s drawing, with long straights, can help the Italian.
“It is a circuit where sector 1 is very good for the Ducati, it suits our characteristics, but in the third sector we lost a lot with Fabio two years ago. I hope that the new (aerodynamic) fairing will help us in that part of the track” .
Another gain in the wet conditions at Motegi was provided by the tyres, which allowed for very competitive times.
“The tires that we have now help us in the wet, for sure there will be spinning (the wheel slips), but it will not be so problematic, I think that this circuit is not as difficult in the wet as Japan, but when you are behind another rider it is difficult. I don’t think there is so much aquaplaning here,” settled the boy from Turin .