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MotoGP French GP

Bagnaia clarifies "out of context" quotes following Le Mans MotoGP controversy

Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia has responded to a recent backlash over comments he made about the competitiveness of MotoGP, stating: "My words were taken out of context".

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

The world champion was taken out of last weekend's French Grand Prix after an early collision with Maverick Vinales while the pair battled for third place, while moments later at the Dunlop chicane there was a scary crash involving Luca Marini and Alex Marquez.

Only 13 riders made it to the chequered flag at Le Mans, with Bagnaia asked what could be done to reduce the number of first-lap crashes seen so far in 2023.

Bagnaia said: "From my point of view, we have been trying to win on the first few laps for two years now.

"And a rider who is behind, who doesn't have the potential to ride at the front, tries to overtake six riders at once. And that's not how it works.

"We all push to the limit and, if I brake on the limit, looking for something else is a mistake, and even more so in the first part of the races. Most of the crashes happen at the beginning because there is too much turmoil.

"With the situation that we have today, all the bikes are capable of winning. It is necessary to think about it because it is not a safe scenario.

"From the first to the last bike, they can all win. There are no longer those six or seven-tenths that there used to be between the works bikes and the satellite bikes.

"The 'Fantastic Four' [Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo] emerged because they were the best, and because they had works bikes.

"The others were quite far behind because they didn't have the potential to ride at the front, not at the technical level either.

"Now, the level is extreme, everything is pushed to the limit. It would be necessary to recover a bit of that difference between factory and customer bikes, or to find a solution to avoid certain situations."

Herve Poncharal, IRTA President

Herve Poncharal, IRTA President

Photo by: Dorna

The clip of these comments was posted onto MotoGP's official website, as was the response from Tech3 team boss and president of the teams' association Herve Poncharal, who described Bagnaia's words as "enormous bullshit" considering the Italian began his premier class career with a satellite squad in Pramac Racing.

In an exclusive interview with Autosport, Bagnaia moved to clarify the situation.

"What has been published is out of context due to the interpretation made by some people," Bagnaia began.

"I was asked about safety and the reasons for the increase in accidents and I simply tried to make an analogy and said that this didn't happen before.

"I think that years ago there was less contact because there was a big difference between the top riders and the others.

"Now everything is much tighter. I got to MotoGP with a satellite team. How am I going to suggest creating a gap between the work bikes and the satellite ones?

"The increase in the number of crashes is due to how close the world championship is. We are all getting closer and closer and we all brake at the limit.

"Even when you start at the back and you know you don't have the pace to be at the front, you try to gain as many places as possible at the start to make the most of the new tyres.

"That's why there are so many accidents in the first part of the races."

Bagnaia added that this situation is part of what he feels is a growing "dynamic" of controversy being deliberately stoked.

"After Le Mans, I disconnected for three days, without a phone, and when I reconnected I saw the controversy that had been generated with Poncharal, magnified by the championship's official website," he said.

"The snowball has been getting bigger and bigger when, at no time, I made any comment to create controversy. On the contrary, I am aware that this is a very serious issue such as safety.

"Unfortunately, we are entering a dynamic in which some people prefer to look for controversy rather than talk about who wins or the beautiful battles that take place on track.

"Lately there has been too much talk about things that are not of my competence.

"I am a rider, I am in love with this sport and my only goal is to win races and work with my team. From now on I will only talk about the sport, which is what I know best, and I will leave the rest to others.

"I'm tired of having to justify every word that is taken out of context as a pretext to open a controversy."

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