Bagnaia "lucky" to drop into Q1 in Assen MotoGP qualifying

Francesco Bagnaia says going through the first part of qualifying for the MotoGP Dutch Grand Prix was ‘lucky’ as it allowed him to find a key improvement on his Ducati.

Bagnaia was one of the high profile names unable to make it directly into Q2 from FP3 on Saturday morning, forcing him into a tight battle to escape Q1.

The Ducati rider successfully navigated his way out of the session and into the pole shootout segment, where he managed to drag a 1m32.116s out of his Ducati to complete the front row in third behind the factory Yamahas of poleman Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo.

The fast and flowing Assen track has never typically favoured the Ducati, with its only win coming back in 2008.

Bagnaia admits the struggles he faced before qualifying were unexpected, but going through Q1 allowed him to find an improvement in corner entry at the track's fast turns, which helped propel him to third in Q2.

"We were not expecting to have this type of struggle this weekend," Bagnaia said.

"Our bike is very difficult to manage in the fast corners because it's shaking a lot and it's very difficult to enter into fast corners.

"But we did a reset this morning and I started trying to do something different on the bike, and from this morning to the Q2 I did some improvements on the riding and step by step and we were closer.

"In FP4 my pace was not so bad but looking at the pace of the Yamahas, it's five tenths, six tenths slower. So, we need to do another step for tomorrow.

"I know that my team is working to find something and I had the luck today to do the Q1 because in the Q1 I had the luck to find something that helped me in Q2.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

"So, for the first time I think that was a good thing – first of all because I passed through Q1, and second because I found something to help me in the fast corners."

After a strong run of three podium in the first five races, Bagnaia's form has dipped since crashing out of the lead in Italy – with the Italian seventh in Barcelona and fifth in Germany after average qualifying performances.

Read Also:

Bagnaia is confident of a strong result on Sunday at Assen but concedes his search for a maiden win will likely continue as the Yamahas are a step ahead on race pace.

"Every time we are missing something because in Sachsenring I had the pace to fight for the podium or to fight for the win, but starting in P10, and then for the first six laps my rear tyre wasn't working and it's something that sometimes can happen," he added.

"We don't know why, but it's the same thing for all the riders in MotoGP.

"Sometimes you have a tyre that starts to work after or doesn't start to work.

"After six laps I started to have my pace and in the end I had pace like Marc and Miguel, but I was too far.

"So, sometimes you are very fast like in Portimao and Mugello. In Mugello I made a mistake, but in Portimao a yellow flag cancelled my possibility to win.

"This time it's a different story because my pace is good but not as the Yamaha.

"I will try to stop them at the start of the race but it will be difficult to stay with them all the race."

shares
comments
Marquez: Assen FP2 crash “affected me a lot” on Saturday

Previous article

Marquez: Assen FP2 crash “affected me a lot” on Saturday

Next article

Quartararo "needs to be clever" battling Vinales in Assen MotoGP race

Quartararo "needs to be clever" battling Vinales in Assen MotoGP race
Load comments
How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Prime

How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021
Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble Prime

Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble

OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment

MotoGP
Sep 8, 2021
Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP Prime

Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP

OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade

MotoGP
Aug 30, 2021
Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home Prime

Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home

OPINION: Many of the UK’s MotoGP fans would prefer Donington Park to host the British GP beyond the expiry of Silverstone's current deal. But the track's fast, flowing circuit provides the best racing and should be regarded as its best bet for the foreseeable future

MotoGP
Aug 26, 2021
How Marc Marquez is facing his toughest challenge in MotoGP Prime

How Marc Marquez is facing his toughest challenge in MotoGP

The 2020 MotoGP season was an enthralling affair, but few would argue with you if you thought the world championship was a poorer place without Marc Marquez. In an exclusive interview, he explains the challenges he's faced in his comeback from injury and what he makes of the current MotoGP landscape.

MotoGP
Aug 23, 2021
The other Austria 'shock' with major repercussions in MotoGP Prime

The other Austria 'shock' with major repercussions in MotoGP

The headlines after MotoGP's Austrian GP were naturally dominated by Brad Binder's heroics on slicks in the rain. But although seventh was, on the face of it, a fairly average result in the context of his season, that Fabio Quartararo was in contention for victory before the rain at Yamaha's worst venue should sound alarm bells for his rivals

MotoGP
Aug 17, 2021
Why Aprilia is a good bet for Vinales - but won't fix his big problem Prime

Why Aprilia is a good bet for Vinales - but won't fix his big problem

The prelude to Maverick Vinales' move to Aprilia has been his tortured exit from Yamaha. But the Spanish rider must put allegations of sabotage, suspensions and unwanted personnel changes aside once he embarks upon his new journey, while Aprilia must find a way to get Vinales firing on all cylinders once again

MotoGP
Aug 16, 2021
The MotoGP rider dilemma facing Petronas SRT for 2022 Prime

The MotoGP rider dilemma facing Petronas SRT for 2022

The final pieces of the 2022 MotoGP rider market have yet to be finalised as Petronas SRT Yamaha faces several obstacles in replacing Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli. SRT’s preferred option has been locked into a KTM deal he doesn’t want, while its other target is managed by Rossi himself and wanted at his VR46 team.

MotoGP
Aug 10, 2021