Grand prix

Aragon MotoGP: Francesco Bagnaia: ‘One of my best laps ever’, Enea Bastianini puzzled by qualifying turnaround | MotoGP

Having now secured 12 out of 15 possible MotoGP poles in 2022, it’s fair to say that one-lap pace has been well and truly dominated by Ducati this season.  

Bagnaia, who could win his fifth race in a row tomorrow – would be his seventh of the season – has been a big reason why the Italian manufacturer has taken so many pole positions and remains firmly in title contention. 

While it was future team-mate Enea Bastianini that was quickest out of the gates in Q2, Bagnaia’s first flying lap of the second and final time attack run initially put him half a second clear, before Jack Miller reduced that margin to +0.090s. 

“I’m very happy about the lap time because I think it’s one of my best I ever did,” said Bagnaia. “Everything was perfect! I was just a bit scared in corner two because I was knowing that the best lap time was on the first attempt but on corner two the front tyre was a bit too cold. 

“When I entered I was feeling that the front was closing a bit. That was the only worry to think about because everything else was perfect.

“I was losing a bit of time in sector four all [throughout] the practice [sessions] but in qualifying it was perfect.”

Bagnaia refutes the idea that Aragon track has no grip 

Earlier in the weekend complaints about the lack of grip and the age of the Aragon track surface were made by some, however, Bagnaia felt like grip was not an issue throughout Saturday. 

“Sincerely, I think we were [only] thinking about that because we were just arriving from Misano and in Misano the level of grip is so high,” continued Bagnaia. 

“Considering the pace we are doing with used tyres and the lap time we did in qualifying; we are faster than last year, so for me the level of grip this year is a bit better. We didn’t have wet sessions and the grip was higher every session.”

On the other side of the factory Ducati garage, Miller was also happy with his qualifying performance, saying: “I’m pretty happy with how my Saturday went. I wasn’t particularly happy yesterday because I was struggling a little bit but we analysed what we needed to work on and made some adjustments overnight. 

“Immediately this morning I felt more comfortable with the bike. I was able to improve in the FP3 and then did the lap time. I threw everything at it and I thought it would be enough, honestly.”

Looking to bounce back after a disappointing Misano Grand Prix – Miller qualified on pole and led at the start of lap two before crashing out – the Australian joked that his main aim in Sunday’s race is to get past the second lap. 

Miller added: “I’ll try to get past lap two for a start. I worked on my pace in FP4 and felt comfortable with it. 

“I saw some of the other boys’ pace was maybe a little bit better – well it was better – but generally I’m able to find a little bit more come Sunday. I think we’re in good shape for tomorrow.”

Confused about his improved MotoGP qualifying pace, but Bastianini will take it

Aside from his three early-season wins, Bastianini was often in recovery mode during races due to poor qualifying results. 

However, since the summer break the Italian has been one of the strongest in that area which included taking a maiden pole in Austria.

On the front row for the third consecutive MotoGP weekend, Bastianini said: “Since the summer break I’ve been stronger in the qualifying but the reality is that I don’t know why. 

“It’s better for me and I think my feeling with the bike is fantastic from Silverstone. We have been fast in all the races and this is the most important for me. 

“Also, this weekend we have worked very well for the moment, yesterday the grip was too low, but today it was coming better. The tyre drop was less than yesterday. 

“The first row is important for me to do a great race. I have to manage the first part of the race well and at the end there is the possibility that the tyre will be destroyed.”

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