Hear from Bagnaia, Martin, Bezzecchi, Aleix, Binder, Viñales, Quartararo and Marini
We’re locked and loaded for another showdown at Misano, with the colourful Adriatic venue sure to deliver another stunner. Before all that, as ever, it was time to talk shop!
The first Press Conference on Thursday comprised Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), before Brad Binder(Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was joined by Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™).
LINE UP 1: BAGNAIA – MARTIN – BEZZECCHI – ALEIX
FRANCESCO BAGNAIA: “First of all I’m pleased and lucky to be here I have to say thanks to the hard work that alpinestars are doing, for sure in terms of safety and evolution they are top in the world for the protection and everything they do. My home GP, it’s important to be here. We worked a lot, it was not easy, Monday was not an easy day but we worked really hard with our entourage and crew and I’m very proud of them for the work we did. It’s incredible the step we did from Monday to now. I will continue all weekend to do the therapy and I think it will be better each day so let’s see, I tried to jump on the bike before and I felt ok.”
What are the extent of the injuries?
“On my booty, that’s something that won’t help! The biggest one is where Binder’s impact was which is the right knee, I have a big haematoma in the knee and it goes down to the foot and it will be a problem to move the leg so let’s see.”
“From the bike I was feeling from the warm up lap my rear grip was zero. I almost crashed three times on the warm up lap, at turns 3, 9 and 12, without pushing. Then in the first corner I already was losing the rear tyre, if you check Jorge had to brake a lot and that’s why I had this gap in the second corner and as soon as I leaned the bike and I opened the gas a bit, I completely lost the rear. Electronic side, mechanical side, riding side, we didn’t do any mistakes, so we’re waiting for Michelin to analyse everything because it’s correct that everyone need to analyse everything. It was a heavy crash, quite a strange crash, so it’s important to understand everything.”
Can you fight at the front this weekend?
“We will try for sure. Before we have to see my feeling on the bike but it’s one of my favourite race weekend, my home GP, the force and power the fans can give us here is incredible. I train here a lot so it’s a track I know perfectly so let’s see.”
JORGE MARTIN: “Last season I struggled a lot here but I also struggled with Mugello and I was able to finish both times on the podium. So I don’t have high expectations for this track. I don’t think that I can fight for the win, but for sure I will try my best and after tomorrow let’s see. I think I’ll make a big step compared to last season but maybe not enough. Hopefully, the bike is working well. I think the grip here is also good and I like the layout so hopefully with the step that we’ve made in braking I can be more competitive.”
You feel like you left Catalunya with a better team bond, why?
“It was a really complicated weekend for me. On Friday, I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t fast. I pushed a lot, but I couldn’t understand it. Then analysing it, 90% it was my side. I wasn’t riding in the correct way and I didn’t understand the conditions of the track, so I feel like after a lot of hours analysing with my team we understood which way to go and from Friday to Saturday we made an amazing step. I think that now I feel like I understand a bit better every situation and hopefully this will help me to be competitive everywhere.”
How cool would it be to win in Misano?
“Well, it would be amazing. I mean, I feel like I’m in a good moment. I’m second in the Championship. This means at this point I’m super competitive, I feel in a good way physically and I feel mentally strong so I will try my maximum and if something better than a podium comes it would be amazing for sure.”
MARCO BEZZECCHI: “In Barcelona unfortunately after the start I crashed together with all the other riders, I immediately felt pain in my left hand, especially in my thumb, but with the adrenaline I was able to race. It was not the best race because I also didn’t have the right tyre on the front but physically I also felt a lot of pain in my back and in my right leg so when I came home I decided to do some checks to see if everything was ok, fortunately there’s nothing serious, just some big hits let’s say. But the muscle in my hand is very hard and it’s difficult for me to keep the handlebar very tight, it’s improving day by day and we are doing physio two or three times a day to improve the situation and honesty today I felt a good step compared to yesterday, so I’m positive for tomorrow to try and be good on the bike.”
Do you expect a difficult weekend?
For sure it will be tough. I feel good physically besides the hand so I think I’m prepared to fight and to ride to my best possibilities.
Early memories of watching here at Misano?
“For me when I was a kid I always came to the races in Italy to see the MotoGP on the grass (in general admission) in Mugello as well but here a lot because it’s very close to my house. Sometimes my dad said to me ‘we go to see the MotoGP session today,’ and we’d get a ticket last minute and go to the grass and I have very beautiful memories from that time. And now to race inside this track is fantastic with all the crowd, my stand with all the 72 t-shirts is something incredible so I’m very happy to be here!”
ALEIX ESPARGARO: “This will last forever, the mix of emotions that I had. It was an amazing weekend, not just because of how happy I was after the double win, but also riding the bike from Friday. I felt like a superhero. Riding the bike was crazy, my feelings with the bike were great. I’m very happy. Unfortunately in this world, there is no time to keep celebrating. On Monday I was already watching last year’s Misano GP sessions. We start from zero. I’m very happy about what we achieved and it will last forever and it will be historical also for Aprilia, so hopefully we can have more days like that.”
(watching the podium again): “I’ll try not to cry again. Yeah, it was amazing actually. It was my dream. My dream was to be on the top of the podium at my home GP with my kids, but it was a very faraway dream and it came true. I will never forget that!”
Misano is a different circuit, how do you rate your chances?
“Obviously Silverstone and Catalonia were very good layouts for us, but I have to say that the Aprilia is improving race by race. We never stop improving and we’re getting closer to the best ones. I think to finish on the podium in three of the last four races and two of the last three victories, it means that our level is rising and I’m very, very happy. It’s a good chance. It’s a good challenge this weekend here. Obviously, the Italian riders and the Ducatis here have been very strong in the past, but I think we can challenge them and we can fight them for the top spots.”
LINE UP 2: BINDER – VIÑALES – MARINI – QUARTARARO
BRAD BINDER: “I think last Sunday was a little bit hectic for sure. The start of the first race and hitting Pecco was far from ideal. I’m just really happy that he walked away unscathed there and that he’s in one piece and hopefully ready to ride at the best of his ability tomorrow. Not a great Sunday for sure. But I’m looking forward to getting started here. Again, this is a cool track for us. And yeah, it was a bit of a challenge last season, but coming here with our new pace, I’m really looking forward to seeing how we stack up.”
How do you think this KTM will fare?
“I’m feeling good. I honestly think our bike can be really good here. We’ve been fighting amongst the podium at most tracks this season. If it hasn’t been me it’s been Jack. So I think our bike is working really well in many places, and I believe with a bit of extra grip, it will go a long way, so hopefully we can turn into a strong result.”
What’s on your ideal wish list of improvements?
“I think Monday is probably going to be a very busy day, for me knowing KTM, so I’m always extremely happy about that. Yeah, I think if I could tick one thing off my wish list, it would be a little bit less spinning. I think that could go a long way!”
MAVERICK VIÑALES: “It’s always beautiful when you have a nice weekend, the thing is that everything moves so quick and after the race we were already talking about Misano and yeah you want to enjoy but at the same time know the next GP is another challenge. Misano is a track I really love, a track I love to ride, love to put the bike on the limit and last year was a fantastic weekend so I see myself there battling which is our target but we will try to enjoy and enjoy this beautiful layout, fast corners, changes of direction, I love it, and try to put a good performance in. that’s the target.”
What about Misano do you love?
“Sector 3. These fast corners I’m able to do the difference, every year less because everyone is learning more and more, especially the VR46 guys, they’re fast there and they know pretty well where to put the wheels everywhere and it’s very tough, but I feel well prepared. I arrive here with a good base set up which is good because your only task is to concentrate on riding, on how to ride the track and then I feel we have a good package so it must work. I see many possibilities here, of course there are many riders that can be very strong but I feel like I’m one of them and we are going to be at the maximum.”
Two years since first testing the Aprilia, what are the memories from the first laps?
“I quickly discovered that Misano had bumps, in the past I never noticed that but then I saw a bike with a lot of potential. It’s something I felt always but it’s something that’s not easy to take from this bike, you have to be very precise, it’s demanding a lot of technical riding style and in the end we understand it quite well and in the last races we are making steps all the time. The good thing is that I don’t think this is my ceiling, we have a way to improve, also my riding style, it’s a matter of working and what I always like to improve is how I can help the bike and this is very important, and every time I am understanding more how to help this bike.”
LUCA MARINI: “It’s a good moment, now I can fully focus on the last races this season. I think we improved a lot this season compared to last season with this team and the people I’m working with are great and the feeling in the garage is fantastic. So we have to continue like this and try to fight for top positions in these last races and also start even better next season.”
Memories of GP debut in 2013 at Misano:
“Just remember that it was a weekend to forget because I wasn’t ready and not in the correct situation to make a race in the world championship so just bad memories about that moment. But it’s great to be here and be a MotoGP rider and I’m really pleased to have this opportunity again next year to show my potential and speed and try to achieve even better results.”
Always VR46 or other options available?
“For sure I spoke with Vale, Ducati, Uccio, we just wanted the same thing. We wanted to be competitive and fight for victory this season and also next season so together we tried to talk the correct decision so that’s it.”
Factory seat thoughts in future..?
“Yeah exactly. It was really important for me to just have a contract for one year so I can be aligned with all the other riders so when the seats are free in the market, we will see. It can be a good opportunity for me but I need to be fast also now on track and finish this season in the best way possible.”
Reasons to be optimistic this weekend?
FABIO QUARTARARO: ” Not really. It was a tough weekend for us. Sunday was great, we went back to last year’s base and it was a bit better. So basically we don’t know which one to start with but basically, we will do it with both and see how the weekend goes.”
Where does the old base help you?
“To be honest, it was on corner entry, every year we’ve lost a little bit of turning, and this year we’re missing it it even more. With last year’s base it helped me carry a little bit more speed and especially in Barcelona where the grip was very low, it helped me quite a lot.”
Had a chance to chat with Cal and test team?
“Yeah, I had Cal on the phone last night so he could tell me a little bit of the feedback. I also prefer not to know absolutely everything, test it for myself, and also share what I felt on the bike. I think this can be great.”
Did Cal sound positive?
“I will keep that to myself!”
Do you get memories of what happened here two years ago?
“Of course, it’s a great feeling. But it also hurts to see where we are right now compared to two years ago. Of course it was one of the best days of my life here, but coming back to this place and knowing the position we’re in now, it hurts. But it is what it is and we have to think positively and try to bring Yamaha to the best position they can be in and hopefully return to a feeling as good as 2021.”
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