Sepang.- The Ducati rider stormed the leadership of the MotoGP World Championship last Sunday in Australia and for the first time, since being in the premier class, this Sunday, in Malaysia, he has a match point to become champion.
For Pecco Bagnaia, the key lies in approaching the weekend like any other, continuing to work as in the last races and not thinking too much about what this possibility means.
“At the moment I am calm, I know that our potential can be high, if we work as in the last races we can do a good job,” explained the Italian this Thursday in the run-up to the Malaysian Grand Prix .
“The problem here will be the weather, rain is expected but I think we have a great chance”, in reference to closing the title.
On the factors that can put pressure on the Turin rider, he himself pointed out two of real significance.
“Since 2009 no Italian has won the World Championship (Valentino Rossi), since 2007 Ducati ( Casey Stoner ) hasn’t won the title, and it could be the first for me in MotoGP, so the pressure is there and I’m starting to feel it. But at this moment I am quite happy, we have done something very good this season, but we still have to finish the job and that is my focus this weekend”, was his assessment.
Bagnaia was already world champion on this circuit, in 2018, when he won the Moto2 crown.
“It is completely different compared to 2018, at that time it was very hard, it was my first title, now I feel more relaxed, but that will change for sure tomorrow and on Sunday, it always changes on race day.
With or without pressure, Sepang is a circuit that Pecco has always been good at.
“What I would like is for it not to rain, riding in the wet here can be quite dangerous, I prefer to ride in the dry, I think I can be quite competitive here in the dry.”
Precisely, a crazy race or even a crash by Pecco is the only thing that could guarantee that the World Championship reaches Valencia with the three current drivers fighting for the title with options.
“At the show level there can be a curious scenario, I have worked a lot, I have tried to be the best version of myself in the second part of the season, I would prefer not to fall in this race,” he said.
It was precisely on this circuit, in preseason, that doubts assailed the Italian with the 2022 Ducati.
“I didn’t think that our test potential would improve, it was slow, it was difficult to maintain consistency, we have worked hard to get to the current level, the main improvement was in Portimao and when we got to Jerez everything was already tighter. The big improvement was I got to the level of mentality, from the second part of the season that was what brought me here,” he said.
Once the sorpasso to Fabio Quartararo for the lead was completed, Pecco was asked to mark the key moment of the season.
“A race that gave me a lot of motivation was Silverstone, I had a lot of difficulties throughout the weekend, I thought I wasn’t going to win and in the end I did, and another important key was Aragón, when I finished second and Fabio crashed, there I won a lot of free points, so to speak.”
Finally, Bagnaia was asked to explain how he was going to manage the pressure that will surely grow over the weekend.
“I have done the same thing that I normally do, what I always do on a daily basis, I read books, I watch movies, I have seen the 2019 race, I am living it as a normal weekend, if I want to do it well I must keep my focus and do the same as always, be prepared, if they start thinking about what puts pressure on me, I will feel that pressure. My girlfriend and my family have accompanied me and they will help me a lot to keep calm, “he settled.