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MotoGP champion Bagnaia says rookie Acosta “must be left alone”

Reigning MotoGP world champion Francesco Bagnaia says rookie Pedro Acosta “must be left alone” following his starring Friday at the Qatar Grand Prix.

Pedro Acosta, Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The 19-year-old reigning Moto2 champion made his official MotoGP debut on Friday at the Losail International Circuit with the KTM-backed Tech3 GasGas squad.

Leading both sessions at various stages, Acosta was third overall in the dry FP1 and third in the rain-hit second outing to cap off a first day that has generated more hype around the rookie.

Ducati’s Bagnaia was not surprised by Acosta’s pace, but says the young Spaniard needs to be left to get on with his development as a rider and not have any more pressure heaped on his shoulders.

“Acosta has gone very fast,” Bagnaia said.

“We expected it, because he has always gone very fast. Acosta must be left alone, he has enough pressure.”

Acosta refused to get too excited about his Friday in Qatar, noting that expectations are the worst thing a young rider can have in the MotoGP paddock.

He also admitted “everything comes easy” right now because he is yet to find the limits of the RC16.

“I was not really thinking in any [expectations for] the start,” Acosta said.

“I say clear, I come here without expectations, I think expectation is the worst thing you can have in this paddock.

Pedro Acosta, Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Pedro Acosta, Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“I’m just enjoying, enjoying the step in MotoGP, the change of team. I’m just trying to enjoy and don’t think about anything.”

He added: “Not too much [do I have a feeling for the limits yet] because I don’t crash too much this pre-season.

“I need time. Now I’m in the moment that everything comes easy. Listen, [there’s] a sentence that says ‘80% of the work, you make it with 20% of effort, and the other 20 you make with the 80% of effort’.

“So, for this more or less we are there. Anyway, we need to keep working. We are working in the best possible way. It’s never easy to change the class or change the team, but we are on it.”

Tyre issue hampers Bagnaia’s day one

Bagnaia could only end Friday 10th overall as he begins his second title defence season with the factory Ducati team.

The Italian blamed this on an issue he was not expecting, which Autosport understands was related to his Michelin tyres.

But because of the strong form he showed in the pre-season test in Qatar on the GP24, he feels he still knows where the potential of the bike is.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“It wasn’t the start of the season I was expecting, in terms of what happened,” he said.

“But my feeling with the bike was the same as the test, but something else was not working well.

“We just decided to remain with the same tyres for the session just because we already know thanks to the test where our potential is, where we can go.

“So, it was not a big issue in that kind of situation. But we lost a bit of time for sure. It’s easily fixed, tomorrow it will be fixed for sure.”

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