Bagnaia’s Austria MotoGP victory “hardest of the year”

Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia says his ‘safe’ front tyre decision in the MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix made his charge to victory “one of the hardest of the year”.

Bagnaia’s Austria MotoGP victory “hardest of the year”

The Italian led every lap of Sunday’s Red Bull Ring race to claim his fourth victory of the season and third on the bounce to keep his championship hopes alive.

Bagnaia, who grabbed the holeshot from second on the grid, took the soft front tyre as he expected cooler conditions and possibly rain to affect Sunday’s grand prix.

But stable conditions meant he struggled with front locking on the soft, though was still able to beat Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo by 0.492s in the end.

“I’m very happy about today because it was one of the hardest of the year because I did the safest choice for the front tyre,” Bagnaia, now 44 points off the championship lead having been 91 adrift after the German GP in June, explained.

“But in these conditions today, finally it wasn’t the best choice. I was expecting some drop of rain or a drop of the temperature.

“But then everything was OK. So, maybe the hard was a bit better because I had a lot of problems with the front locking.

“But anyway, I’m really happy, we did another good job this weekend.

“My team did an incredible job this weekend. I was surprised to start like this because I wasn’t competitive till yesterday in FP4 because I was struggling to be fast.

“I think we did an enormous job yesterday, so I’m very happy.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Ducati team-mate Jack Miller fought with Bagnaia in the early stages, launching an attack into the penultimate corner on lap seven of 28 as he felt he “had a bike good enough to fight for the victory”.

Miller was instantly repelled and ultimately dropped to third, having encountered grip issues on the left side of his soft front and medium rear Michelin tyres.

“Since we come back from that test in Barcelona we’ve been there or thereabouts, no matter the circumstances, with long laps or whatever included and we’ve been able to challenge for the podium,” said Miller, celebrating his fifth podium of the season.

“So, it’s been great. I had a fantastic bike today, a bike good enough to fight for the victory.

“I felt like I had to get that move done, he knew my intentions at that point because I had been behind Enea and we both had that soft front and I knew I needed to get some cooler air on that thing.

“So, I had a lunge and I wasn’t quite able to pull it off.

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“I suffered a little bit to pull up after that and he was able to get the hammer down and creep out a tenth here, a tenth there.

“Later on the race I really started suffering quite a bit on the left hand corners, which were my stronger points at the beginning of the race.”

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