A hot topic of conversation for much of this season, overtaking in MotoGP has seemingly become more difficult compared to recent seasons.
In fact, some riders including eight-time world champion Marc Marquez have been against recent aerodynamics innovations, whether that’s winglets or ride-height devices.
While the already unique machines look stunning and are proving to be faster than ever, downforce has supposedly been affected by such aero features, thus making it harder to follow along with front tyre temperatures becoming a major issue for riders.
But that’s not exactly the view Francesco Bagnaia has, with the Italian convinced that MotoGP does not have an overtaking problem. Instead, the Ducati rider believes if a rider is faster than those around him then managing the situation is possible, as he did in Portimao and Mugello.
Speaking to GQ Italia during last weekend’s World Ducati Week, Bagnaia said this when asked if aerodynamics are the main issue with overtaking: “I don’t think so and Fabio [Quartararo] also agrees with me. In the races where I had to recover, I did it and overtook.
“Sure, the aerodynamics create more turbulence and it must also be said that we always go to the limit, so in this situation it is very easy to go wide and make mistakes.
“At the same time, if you are faster you have no problems, as demonstrated by Rins who started last in Portimao and finished fourth, or myself who started last and finished eighth, or at Mugello that after the start I finished ninth and won. In short, if you have the potential you can overcome it.”
“We expected more”
With the summer break nearly over, a crucial second half to the 2022 MotoGP season is in store for Bagnaia.
Although Johann Zarco is one place ahead of the Italian in the standings, Ducati’s championship hopes remain on Bagnaia’s shoulders.
Winner of three races so far this year, including the last race at Assen, Bagnaia will need to be mistake-free if he’s going to catch Aleix Espargaro and series leader Fabio Quartararo.
“At the beginning of the season we expected a bit more, but it wasn’t easy because there were various difficulties on a technical level which we then managed to solve,” continued Bagnaia. “In the last few races, since we returned to Europe, we have become much faster and have always been ahead.
“There were ups and downs, some bad luck and my mistakes. I’ve either won the last few races or I’ve crashed, so it’s not exactly the best.
“But the important thing is to know that we are so fast and in the second half of the season it will be important to find continuity.”
Bagnaia not thinking of leaving MotoGP before retirement, but ‘I have always liked Superbikes’
When asked if there are other championships that pique the Italian’s interest, WorldSBK was Bagnaia’s first response.
But with the Italian at the top of his game and unquestionably one of MotoGP’s biggest stars, seeing the 25 year-old swap championships is only a fantasy for those who prefer WorldSBK to MotoGP.
Bagnaia told GQItalia.com: “I have always liked [World] Superbike a lot, it has always thrilled me. Having said that, if my career goes well and I continue to race for at least another ten years, let’s say until I’m thirty-five, I don’t think I’ll want to race after that.
“I feel very lucky because my passion has become my job, but it is becoming more and more difficult and more stressful.
“There are many races and many commitments, so I think a rider’s career will start to last a little less. In short, at some point I would like to do a quieter job.”