After Francesco Bagnaia‘s long-awaited debut MotoGP victory at Aragon, proud mentor Valentino Rossi joked about trying to ‘hypnotise’ the Ducati rider not to take any ‘strange’ tyre choices for the race.
“I tried yesterday to hypnotise him, saying ‘hard-soft, hard-soft, hard-soft…’ because sometimes Pecco makes strange decisions with the tyres!” Rossi had said.
Unfortunately, it was a risky tyre choice that proved disasterous for Bagnaia’s slim title hopes in Sunday’s Misano race, leaving Rossi ‘a little bit angry’.
“I tried to make the same like in Aragon, I tried to hypnotise Pecco to put ‘medium-medium’. But this time it didn’t work!” Rossi said.
Bagnaia and factory Ducati team-mate Jack Miller were the only riders to chose the hard front tyre in the cool conditions.
Both went on to crash in carbon-copy front-end spills at Turn 15; Miller from second place early on, then title contender Bagnaia while leading with four laps to go.
That meant a surprised Fabio Quartararo was suddenly confirmed as world champion, with two rounds remaining.
Miller and Bagnaia admitted the hard front had been a gamble that didn’t pay off, but insisted they had little choice after struggling with the medium in practice.
Rossi however felt Bagnaia had enough speed to win with the medium front.
“Pecco did a fantastic season. I’m a little bit angry with him today because I think that if he put the medium front he can win, because he was faster. But this is just what I think,” said the nine time world champion.
“For me the hard front was too dangerous today and I tried to say to Pecco but at the end they put and the hard front is like this: Unfortunately, in the last part of the race there was less sun, less temperature and the hard front is like this.
“When the temperature goes too low, the tyre gives up and you crash without doing nothing.
“So it was a great shame because Pecco was the faster today and during the weekend. He can win, he can keep open the championship, that is anyway difficult, but to bring it into Portugal is important
“At the end it’s a big shame. I raced with the medium front and the medium front was very good. Anyway, it’s like this and I think Pecco, Franco and also Luca will be very strong next year.”
Turning to Quartararo, who replaced Rossi at the factory Yamaha team this season and has now become Yamaha’s first world champion since 2015, The Doctor said:
“Sincerely I thought it was the right choice to have Quartararo in the Factory team. But maybe it was not a very good choice to not have me in the factory team!” he smiled.
“Anyway, Quartararo deserved the championship. He always rode very fast, never made any mistakes. So I think that he deserved the championship and I’m very happy for him and also for Yamaha.”