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MotoGP Americas GP

Bagnaia: “I haven't earned right” to be seen as key in Ducati MotoGP dominance

Despite becoming only Ducati’s second MotoGP world champion, Francesco Bagnaia still believes he has to make improvements to be seen as the key factor rather than the bike.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Last season Bagnaia achieved what seemed unthinkable by recovering from a 91-point deficit to Fabio Quartararo to be crowned world champion at the final round in Valencia, marking Ducati’s first riders’ title in 15 years, since Casey Stoner’s 2007 triumph at the start of the 800cc era.

As expected, Bagnaia’s feat earned him praise from all sides, especially given his comeback fight, highlighted by four consecutive victories between the Assen and Misano rounds, that helped him slash the initial points deficit.

Ahead of the third round of the 2023 season, having just lost the early riders’ championship lead to Marco Bezzecchi, Bagnaia accepts he is title favourite this year but remains humble about the season and his standing in Ducati.

But compared to Honda’s most recent dominant era, which was largely credited to Marc Marquez, while the same can also be said of Fabio Quartararo for his 2021 title win for Yamaha, Bagnaia hasn’t been given the same level of credit for his 2022 feat.

Bagnaia feels he hasn’t earned that status off the back of his first MotoGP world title, but feels he could enter that conversation with a run of multiple world championships for Ducati.

“I haven't earned that right yet. If I show that I am the one who is always in front with this bike, that only I win and that I win three titles in a row, then we will have to talk about Pecco,” reflects Bagnaia, when speaking to Autosport.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

After scoring maximum points in the Portugal opener by winning the sprint and the grand prix, Argentina was a tough round for Bagnaia as he only scored four points thanks to sixth place in the sprint before he crashed in the grand prix.

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The good form of the Ducati riders, who have occupied nine of the 12 podium places up for grabs so far, has put the Italian factory in firm control of the constructors’ fight – while Ducati riders lockout the top four spots in the standings.

“All Ducati riders are fast,” Bagnaia added. “In the first place, because they are very good, and secondly because our motorcycle adapts to many different riding styles.

“Going fast and being a champion are two different things. To me, the title has given me more peace of mind. Now I know I've won, I know I can do it.”

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