Francesco Bagnaia says his recovery ride from 13th to victory at Mandalika ‘means many things’ after he reclaimed the MotoGP championship lead.
After relinquishing the series lead to Jorge Martin following the Spaniard’s sprint win at the Indonesian MotoGP, Bagnaia looked on course to drop more points.
Martin took the lead before riders had even navigated turn one, but despite holding a comfortable lead of over three seconds 13 laps later, Martin threw all his hard work out the window with a crash at turn 11.
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In despair at the side of the track, Martin then watched Bagnaia close in on Maverick Vinales before taking the lead with a few laps to go.
Bagnaia, who never lost the lead from that point forward, said this after his first win since Austria: It’s a great moment for sure. Yesterday I was quite upset after the qualifying and the sprint race because I was struggling a lot to set a fast lap with new tyres.
“I was struggling a lot to overtake riders. The pace was not bad but I didn’t have any chance to overtake my teammate.
“But today we improved a lot. In the warm-up I already felt better and in the race I just tried to do the maximum at the start.
“I have to say that the hard front tyre helped me to brake very hard. When I was in third position I was just pushing to try and catch Maverick.
“I could see that Martin was going away but I was thinking that Jorge’s pace was very fast. I was starting to feel some drop from the rear and after his crash I just tried to push again for 2-3 laps.
“The last lap I really enjoyed and I knew that the guys behind were catching but I just tried to close out the lap.”
Post-race Bagnaia also spoke about the importance of his victory and whether winning for the first time since Austria or taking back the series lead was more meaningful.
“Both! From my side this victory means many things,” said the reigning world champion. “We were so competitive again. We were missing this feeling so to have this performance again was very important.
“In a moment where Jorge was out it was important to take the most points available. We did that.
“From the moment in Barcelona it was not easy and honestly, the win today has given a lot of motivation.”