Bagnaia "lucky" to drop into Q1 in Assen MotoGP qualifying

Francesco Bagnaia says going through the first part of qualifying for the MotoGP Dutch Grand Prix was ‘lucky’ as it allowed him to find a key improvement on his Ducati.

Bagnaia "lucky" to drop into Q1 in Assen MotoGP qualifying

Bagnaia was one of the high profile names unable to make it directly into Q2 from FP3 on Saturday morning, forcing him into a tight battle to escape Q1.

The Ducati rider successfully navigated his way out of the session and into the pole shootout segment, where he managed to drag a 1m32.116s out of his Ducati to complete the front row in third behind the factory Yamahas of poleman Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo.

The fast and flowing Assen track has never typically favoured the Ducati, with its only win coming back in 2008.

Bagnaia admits the struggles he faced before qualifying were unexpected, but going through Q1 allowed him to find an improvement in corner entry at the track’s fast turns, which helped propel him to third in Q2.

“We were not expecting to have this type of struggle this weekend,” Bagnaia said.

“Our bike is very difficult to manage in the fast corners because it’s shaking a lot and it’s very difficult to enter into fast corners.

“But we did a reset this morning and I started trying to do something different on the bike, and from this morning to the Q2 I did some improvements on the riding and step by step and we were closer.

“In FP4 my pace was not so bad but looking at the pace of the Yamahas, it’s five tenths, six tenths slower.

“So, we need to do another step for tomorrow.

“I know that my team is working to find something and I had the luck today to do the Q1 because in the Q1 I had the luck to find something that helped me in Q2.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“So, for the first time I think that was a good thing – first of all because I passed through Q1, and second because I found something to help me in the fast corners.”

After a strong run of three podium in the first five races, Bagnaia’s form has dipped since crashing out of the lead in Italy – with the Italian seventh in Barcelona and fifth in Germany after average qualifying performances.

Bagnaia is confident of a strong result on Sunday at Assen but concedes his search for a maiden win will likely continue as the Yamahas are a step ahead on race pace.

“Every time we are missing something because in Sachsenring I had the pace to fight for the podium or to fight for the win, but starting in P10, and then for the first six laps my rear tyre wasn’t working and it’s something that sometimes can happen,” he added.

“We don’t know why, but it’s the same thing for all the riders in MotoGP.

“Sometimes you have a tyre that starts to work after or doesn’t start to work.

“After six laps I started to have my pace and in the end I had pace like Marc and Miguel, but I was too far.

“So, sometimes you are very fast like in Portimao and Mugello.

“In Mugello I made a mistake, but in Portimao a yellow flag cancelled my possibility to win.

“This time it’s a different story because my pace is good but not as the Yamaha.

“I will try to stop them at the start of the race but it will be difficult to stay with them all the race.”

 

shares
comments

Related video

Marquez: Assen MotoGP FP2 crash "affected me a lot"

Previous article

Marquez: Assen MotoGP FP2 crash "affected me a lot"

Next article

Quartararo “needs to be clever” battling Vinales in Assen MotoGP race

Quartararo “needs to be clever” battling Vinales in Assen MotoGP race
Load comments
How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches Plus

How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches

Forming a ladder all the way from Red Bull Rookies Cup to MotoGP, KTM has created a steady stream of top talents in grand prix racing delivering the Austrian marque with the success expected of the brand. Here's how it has gone about it

MotoGP
Jul 28, 2021
Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant Plus

Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant

Danilo Petrucci’s days in MotoGP appear numbered, as KTM looks to completely reshuffle the Tech3 team for 2022. Though the Italian's 2021 season so far hasn’t been standout, the giant Italian covertly became a top runner in MotoGP across the last decade and brought with him a personality that world sport sorely needs more of

MotoGP
Jul 22, 2021
Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can’t be written off yet Plus

Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can’t be written off yet

Joan Mir’s defence of his MotoGP title has had an underwhelming start as Suzuki didn’t progress its championship-winning GSX-RR as much as its rivals did with their bikes over the winter. Speaking to Autosport, Mir lays out why his title defence has been stalled so far and why he’s confident title number two is still within reach

MotoGP
Jul 12, 2021
The Rossi replacement who’s become the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed Plus

The Rossi replacement who’s become the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed

It's been six years since Jorge Lorenzo gave Yamaha its last MotoGP title in 2015. Since his departure at the end of 2016, Yamaha's form has been inconsistent but it has at last found a new talisman to return it to the top spot in the form of a precociously talented Frenchman who currently leads the standings

MotoGP
Jul 6, 2021
Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties Plus

Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties

On Monday Yamaha announced it will part ways with Maverick Vinales at the end of the 2021 season - a move requested by the rider. As the already strained relationship between both parties in MotoGP hit rock bottom in recent weeks, this divorce - as ORIOL PUIGDEMONT writes - is good for both Yamaha and Vinales for a number of reasons

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2021
The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption Plus

The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption

A decade after first linking up with Ducati in what turned out to be an ill-fated period in his MotoGP career, Valentino Rossi has joined forces with the Italian marque once more - this time as a team owner. And the VR46/Ducati tie-up beginning in 2022 has the potential to right the wrongs of Rossi and Ducati's nadir of 2011/2012

MotoGP
Jun 24, 2021
Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi Plus

Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi

With Valentino Rossi’s next career move imminent in MotoGP, it is set to have wide-reaching influences on a number of riders and teams on the grid. But one of the biggest impacts will be felt at Yamaha, with its pivotal role in the saga set to see it lose its appointment with ‘The Doctor’

MotoGP
Jun 22, 2021
How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win Plus

How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win

Marc Marquez has been through hell and back in the 581 days between his win in the 2019 Valencia season finale and his heroic MotoGP comeback victory in Germany last Sunday. Despite battling physical limitations and a difficult 2021-spec Honda, the Sachsenring provided the perfect storm for the Spaniard to return to the top step

MotoGP
Jun 21, 2021