The life of a rider is full of risks. We all know that. But they are more risks than usual on the Mandalika circuit. Just look at what happened to Bagnaia’s arm. He got a nice (so to speak) purple bruise after being hit by a pebble yesterday while he was riding his Ducati.
“They’re like bullets. It’s not that great when they hit you,” he said. “Yesterday we talked to the Safety Commission about the track conditions. It’ll get clean with more bikes, but the real problem is the pebbles. If you start in front of everyone in the race, no one will come near you with how many you lift,” he said. “But I dare not imagine the situation of whoever ends up in the middle of the group, with all those pebbles and only one clean trajectory. It could be dangerous. Also, if one of those pebbles hits the radiator, it could crack it. They reassured us that they’ll resolve the situation for the GP.“
So all that remains is to trust and focus on the work done during these five days of winter tests. Yesterday Pecco Bagnaia said he was only at 80% of the potential of the new Ducati GP22. “Today we added an extra five percent,” he smiled.
But there’s still a ways to go. They’d need more test days, but there aren’t any left.
” We only had five and basically threw one away here due to the track conditions,” he said regretfully. “So we’re still behind, but in the good sense of the word, because we don’t get two seconds per lap. I feel that the potential of the bike is greatear. I would say it can go two or three tenths faster, and these tests have helped us understand how to get there.“
The new Desmosedici is very different than the previous one, and so it needs to be fine-tuned.
“The strengths haven’t changed. Corner entry, braking, and acceleration,” Pecco explained. “The area on which we have to focus most is exiting corners. We’re trying to find a solution, and we’ve improved during these days. I know how strong the Ducati electronics development team is, so I’m not worried.“
The rider also needs to adapt to the GP22.
“We need to change something in the riding style, and I concentrated on understanding how. I did 210 laps in three days for this,” he continued. “The new bike was immediately consistent in terms of pace, but I was missing something in the flying lap, and it went better today.”
Pecco also did a race simulation.
“The medium on the rear was the worst solution,” he emphasized. “But it’s the one we’ll have for the race. The other riders used the soft, which was better, and if I look at my pace with that, I’m close to the best. Yet, it was tough. At one point, there were sixty-two degrees on the asphalt.“
They hope that all this work will give results right from the first race in Qatar. Many think that Bagnaia will be the favorite.
“I feel great, but I’m not the one who won last year, so the favorite is Quartararo,” he said. “Anyway, I don’t feel pressure. I’m happy with the last part of 2021 and the work we’re doing together with my team. I don’t know who’ll be the most dangerous rival in Qatar, but Honda, Suzuki, and Aprilia have done a good job.”