Bagnaia scores hard-fought 3rd in #JapaneseGP Sprint, Pirro 19th
Francesco Bagnaia fought hard with his former Ducati team-mate Jack Miller (KTM) to take the final podium place in the 12-lap Sprint race at the Motegi circuit in Japan.
Starting from second place on the grid behind polesitter Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), Pecco didn’t get the best start and found himself in fourth at the end of the opening lap, with the two KTMs of Binder and Miller sandwiched between himself and his Spanish rival.
For nine laps, Bagnaia and Miller put on a great show, with very little gap between them, and after a couple of attempts, Pecco found a way past the Australian with a spectacular high-speed pass on the outside under the circuit tunnel with three laps remaining. After today’s Sprint, Bagnaia maintains the lead in the overall Standings with an 8-point advantage over Martin, the winner in today’s race ahead of Binder.
Michele Pirro, who started the race 21st on the grid, ended in nineteenth position.
Francesco Bagnaia (#1 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 3rd
I’m happy overall with third place. After the crash I suffered in India, it was important to get a good result. It wasn’t easy cause I had to fight hard with Jack, and I couldn’t take advantage of the tyre grip during the race’s early stages and get to the front. Honestly, I was expecting more grip this afternoon cause this morning, I was quite fast with used tyres. But in the race, I had never felt comfortable. Tomorrow, it will be important to start well and take good advantage of the tyres in the first laps.
Michele Pirro (#51 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 19th
In the Sprint race, we were able to make some progress. I had a good constant pace, and I was able to align myself with my practice times. We are not missing much to be with our target group. I hope tomorrow to take another small step forward and be even closer. It’s not easy, but as always, I will do my best.
On Sunday, the Ducati Lenovo Team riders will be out on track for ten minutes of warm-up at 10.40 local time (03.40 CEST), while the Grand Prix of Japan, which will be held over 24 laps and 115.22 km, will start at 15.00 local time (08.00 CEST).