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MotoGP Italian GP

Bagnaia feared Barcelona crash repeat in Mugello MotoGP sprint win

Francesco Bagnaia admits he was worried about repeating the crash that cost him victory in Barcelona while leading Saturday’s MotoGP sprint race at the Italian Grand Prix.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Factory Ducati rider Bagnaia was finally able to end a barren run stretching all the way back to last year’s Austrian Grand Prix by taking the top spot in the half-distance race at Mugello, beating Gresini’s Marc Marquez by over a second.

His victory followed just a week after he dropped his Ducati on the last lap of the Catalan Grand Prix sprint while leading, a mistake that not only cost him 12 points but also widened his deficit to Pramac rival Jorge Martin in the standings.

The Italian admitted that he took a cautious approach on the final lap, with the memories of his Barcelona tumble still weighing on him.

Asked if that crash was on his mind as he neared the chequered flag at Mugello, the reigning champion admitted: “Absolutely it was.

“It was super scary. When I arrived in corner 10, that is the one more critical for the front, I was very very slow. And also on corner 12. Luckily I managed to finish it.”

He added: “The last two laps were quite difficult to manage, to remain in a constant pace. I saw that more or less for everybody it was the same situation.

“Very happy. We were close in the last one in Barcelona but here was the day. We managed everything in a perfect way.”

After Marquez had cleared Pramac polesitter Jorge Martin for second, he began closing on race leader Bagnaia, cutting his deficit by 1.3s to just eight tenths with less than a handful of laps to run in the sprint.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

But the 27-year-old picked up the pace and stretched his advantage back to a second, before easing off on the final lap and cruising to the finish.

“As soon as I dropped a little pace, Marc was already there,” he said.

“For sure it wasn't ideal for the front tyre, because I was starting having a lot of moments from the front. But we managed quite well the situation.”

The key to Bagnaia’s win on Saturday was his impressive launch from second on the grid, as he immediately reeled in Martin and established a small buffer out front.

Bagnaia stressed that the start will be even more crucial in Sunday's grand prix, when he will line up fifth on the grid due to a three-place grid drop from his Friday practice run-in with Gresini’s Alex Marquez.

“I did a very good start and it was so useful in this case, because today the front temperature could be a problem and we managed a big lead already in the front corner,” he added.

“For tomorrow it will be more important, because I start from P5.”

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