Bagnaia – “Training with Panigale could be beneficial, but MotoGP is on a whole other level.”

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“Francesco Bagnaia aims to secure another double victory as he heads into the Portuguese MotoGP, following his success in 2023.”

“After clinching victory at the Qatar MotoGP, Francesco Bagnaia reaffirmed his status as the rider to watch during the season opener, leading every lap ahead of Brad Binder and last season’s title rival Jorge Martin.

With two wins under his belt from last season, Bagnaia also triumphed at Portimao in 2021, indicating that he is expected to be a formidable force this weekend.”

Speaking affectionately about the Portimao circuit, Bagnaia expressed, “I adore this track. It’s one of my favorites with its mix of uphill and downhill sections. It’s like a blend of Mugello and Sachsenring, and I thoroughly enjoy riding here. Last year, just like in Qatar, was a perfect start to the season.

“So I’m feeling quite confident because I believe we can be more competitive with the 24 bike in certain parts of the track. I’m eagerly anticipating the start of the weekend.”

In 2023, Bagnaia often seemed to face challenges on Fridays before turning his weekend around when necessary. This trend repeated itself at the opening round in Qatar.

However, the two-time MotoGP winner admitted that the issue was not quite the same this time around.

Bagnaia elaborated, “I think the situation in Qatar was different from last year, where I struggled on Fridays trying to find the right setup. This time, we faced some issues on the first day and couldn’t have a typical working day for other aspects.”

“I think this track; the setting of the bike can make a difference but this track is one where the bike can make less difference compared to others.

“It is more about the feeling the rider has with the track. I hope that tomorrow everything will be good to have a good day of work.”

While most of the MotoGP grid has not been in action at Portimao since the 2023 season-opener, Ducati’s entire rider line-up took part in a private test in the Algarve, giving them an advantage over their competition.

One of the riders taking part was new Ducati rider Franco Morbidelli, who suffered a big crash and injury as a result.

Asked if testing a road bike can make a difference in preparation for a MotoGP event and Morbidelli’s potential, Bagnaia said:

“I think that training with the Panigale is good, not to understand the track, but just to train,” began Bagnaia. “I used this test to just arrive more prepared for the test in Malaysia and be more adapted to the speed.

“But it’s something that without doing the lap times with Panigale; you are used to a MotoGP bike after ten laps. But for sure, there is some help there and Franky was fast here.

“Unfortunately he had his crash but we already know the potential of every rider in MotoGP. Franky was fast but the Panigale is one thing, the MotoGP is another thing.

“The level of adapting for every rider is different. Everyone needs a different [amount] of time to adapt. I needed two years and Jorge needed two races.”

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