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MotoGP Catalan GP

Bagnaia "tired of losing points" to title rivals in MotoGP sprint races

Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia says he is “tired” of hemorrhaging points to his title rivals in sprint races in MotoGP 2024 after yet another frustrating showing in Barcelona last weekend.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team crash

Although two-time champion Bagnaia has been one of the star performers this year on the new GP24, the Italian hasn’t been able to convert his speed into top-line results in half-distance races that are now an important part of grand prix weekends.

While championship leader Jorge Martin has once again emerged as the king of sprint races in 2024, Bagnaia has yet to finish on the podium in any of the six Saturday contests this year.

More worryingly, he has retired from the last three sprints in 2024, with the consequent points loss denting his title challenge against Pramac rival Martin, who has capitalised on the situation to build a substantial 39-point advantage in the standings.

At Jerez, Bagnaia was a victim of poor track conditions that caught out nearly half the field, while his Le Mans sprint outing was wrecked by a “dangerous” issue with his second motorcycle that he was forced to race on after crashing his primary bike in qualifying.

He finally appeared to have made a breakthrough last Saturday in Barcelona, only to suffer a heartbreaking crash at Turn 5 on the final lap while leading the field from Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.

Following his latest DNF in the Catalan Grand Prix, Bagnaia is still in favour of keeping sprint races on the MotoGP schedule but feels he needs to put everything together in order to accumulate the necessary points for his title bid.

“No, the sprints are there and I just have to improve myself,” he said.

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“We are always competitive. In the last three sprint races, we were competitive but we had two crashes and one problem with the bike. So, I’m losing a lot of points.

“On Saturday I was winning the race before the crash on the last lap. So, for sure it’s something I have to improve.

“Normally I struggle more but this year I’m feeling well in every sprint race. So, it’s a matter of finishing them and take points because last year it’s true I was struggling a bit, but I was finishing every sprint race I did.

“It’s less points but for the championship it helps a lot, because every weekend it’s to put six, eight, nine, 12 points every weekend is a lot.

“So, it’s good in every Sundays we are competitive but I’m tired of losing points in a free way on Saturdays.”

Bagnaia recovered from his sprint crash to take a stunning victory in the grand prix on Sunday, passing Martin for the lead at the same corner where he had crashed the day before - something he described as “busting a myth” in a post-race interview.

The 27-year-old says he doesn’t stop believing in himself whenever he has a poor Saturday, and it is this confidence in his abilities that allows him to make strong comebacks in MotoGP.

“I can be very focused on the objective. I know when I do mistakes, when I crash, when I have a problem, I can be disappointed, nervous, angry. But I know perfectly my potential,” he said.

“I know that if everything is ok, I can fight for the win, I can fight for the top positions. And this is something that helps me to be always prepared to fight.

“I know perfectly that even if I have a difficult Saturday I can have a good Sunday, because the potential is there, my team is there, my bike is there and everything is set up to let me be competitive and fast. So, I’m very confident on my package.”

A closer analysis of the opening six rounds shows Bagnaia has outscored Martin by three points in Sunday races this year. However, the Italian has only mustered 14 points in sprints in 2024, while Martin has accumulated a whopping 56 points from half-distance races thanks to his three victories.

Points scored by Martin and Bagnaia in grands prix

Race
Martin (points scored)
Bagnaia (points scored)
Qatar
16
25
Portugal
25
0
Americas
13
11
Spain
0
25
France
25
16
Catalunya
20
25
Total
99
102

Points scored by Martin and Bagnaia in sprints

Race
Martin (points scored)
Bagnaia (points scored)
Qatar
12
6
Portugal
7
6
Americas
7
2
Spain
12
0
France
12
0
Catalunya
6
0
Total
56
14

Watch: Pecco bounces back in Barcelona! | 2024 #CatalanGP

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