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MotoGP Australian GP

Bagnaia “won’t think about” MotoGP title match point in Malaysia

Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia says he “won’t think about” the fact he can win the 2022 MotoGP title next week in Malaysia following his Australian Grand Prix podium.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

The Italian now leads the standings for the first time in his MotoGP career by 14 points after finishing third on Sunday at Phillip Island to capitalise on a disastrous day for his title rivals.

Erstwhile championship leader Fabio Quartararo crashed out, while Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro could only ride to ninth at Phillip Island to slip 27 points adrift in third.

Bagnaia can win the championship next week at Sepang if he outscores Quartararo by 11 points, but insists he will not go to Malaysia thinking about his title match point because “if I start thinking about the pressure, I will put pressure on myself”.

“For sure it will be very important,” he said of next week’s Malaysian GP.

“But I will just try to do the same as we did from the summer break.

“Just thinking session by session, doing a good job and being prepared for the race and then see if it will be possible to be crowned there.

“But just be smart, take care about everything because it will be important to finish the race and be in front.

“Sincerely, if I start thinking about the pressure, I will put pressure on myself.

“So, I will not think about it. I will just be calm and do the weekend like we always do in the past in this championship. So, being smart will be the key for sure.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bagnaia says once he knew Quartararo had crashed out of the Phillip Island race he elected to risk less in his battle for victory, with the Ducati rider not forcing the issue when eventual winner Alex Rins and Honda’s Marc Marquez overtook him on the final lap.

“My objective today was to win to be more in front in the championship,” Bagnaia added.

“When I was leading I saw that Fabio was out on my pit board.

“So, I just tried to be smart and to push because when I was in front I just tried to push for a few laps.

“But then I saw my rear tyre started to drop a bit more, so it was very difficult to make a gap today.

“Then on the last lap when they both overtook me at Turn 2, I said ‘Ok, if I will see a possibility I will take it, but I don’t want to take any risks’ because it was very easy to commit a mistake today.”

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