Starting on the front row for the second time in as many races, Bastianini led the early laps before losing the lead of the Misano MotoGP to Bagnaia.
Finding it difficult to get temperature into his front tyre, Bastianini nearly crashed out of the lead at turn 14 on lap two. However, the Italian managed to avoid a repeat of what happened to Jack Miller just a few corners prior.
After settling in behind Bagnaia and Maverick Vinales, Bastianini soon became the fastest rider on-track as he hunted down Bagnaia for the win.
Discussing the early laps and why being behind another rider was more beneficial, a stark contrast to what we’ve heard from most MotoGP riders this season when it comes to following others, Bastianini said: “I think that behind other guys it was easier for me to put temperature in the tyre. At the start I was in the front and I had a lot of front locking, especially in the fast braking like turn #4 and #8.
“When Pecco and also Maverick [Vinales] overtook me it stayed much easier to bring confidence and put temperature in the tyre.
“I don’t know why [it was like that] but I worked a lot with the soft choice in the rear but today I chose the medium and it was too strange for me at the start.”
‘Feeling so strange’ – Bastianini
In Le Mans earlier this season Bastianini’s pace proved too hot to handle for Bagnaia, but with the Italian making zero mistakes this time around, the Gresini rider had to find a way of creating a surprise overtake.
And although that very nearly happened when he set Bagnaia up on the exit of the last corner, his future team-mate resisted by just 0.034s at the line.
Bagnaia added: “It was difficult at the start because my feeling with the bike was so strange. It was difficult to put temperature into the tyre and after the half [race point] it was coming better.
“It stayed possible for me to push and to go with Pecco [Bagnaia] and to make a gap from the other guys.
“In the last lap I did my best to win the race but Pecco made a better [job] in respect of this race.
“I’m happy about this job and doing the fastest lap in the last lap of the race which is so strange for MotoGP.
“I braked so strong and I tried to overtake in that corner [turn four] but I decide to go wide [to avoid hitting Bagnaia]. At the end I tried again in the last corner but Pecco braked so late and it was impossible for me.”
Bagnaia takes different approach to win fourth consecutive MotoGP win
Despite facing pressure for most of the race, Bagnaia was peerless in his defence of the lead as he made history as the first Ducati rider to win four consecutive MotoGP race.
But unable to do it based on pure performance, Bagnaia had to use inventive lines to keep Bastianini behind.
“In the last lap I just tried to have more corner speed. I was feeling that I was without a rear tyre and rear traction,” said Bagnaia.
“So I used all the corner speed and just go wide on the corner exit. For sure, in that moment Enea [Bastianini] had a really great pick up with the medium [tyre] and he was able to put more power on the ground and accelerate more.
“My line was just to not lose in acceleration because I was feeling that if I did a normal line I was losing the race.”