Bagnaia set for more Mugello magic

motorsport30 May 2024 18:00| © AFP
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Francesco Bagnaia © Getty Images

Defending two-time world champion Francesco Bagnaia is relishing the prospect of putting on a show fit for his home fans in this weekend's Italian MotoGP.

The Ducati rider turns up at Mugello fresh from his win in Catalunya, which moved 'Pecco' 39 points behind series leader Jorge Martin.

The revitalised six-time former champion Marc Marquez sits third in the standings, two points behind Bagnaia, who was kicking himself after throwing away victory in last weekend's sprint with a final lap crash when in the lead.

In front of tens of thousands of his adoring tifosi supporters, Bagnaia is the man to beat for this seventh round of the season at a circuit where he has emerged victorious in the past two years.

"Mugello is a circuit I adore with all the fans there," said the 27-year-old Italian.

"With its heavy braking and long straights it's a track that suits my riding style and my bike really well," the Turin-born Bagnaia told Thursday's press conference.

Spain's Martin is eager to press home his standings advantage on his Ducati Pramac satellite bike.

"This is a very important weekend for me and the team so I really want to concentrate on the race," he said ahead of discussions next week on whether he moves up to the factory Ducati next season.

Marquez is evidently having the time of his life this season since leaving Honda for Ducati's Gresini outfit.

The Catalan has finished on the podium in the past three races.

But he knows if he is to mount a sustained challenge for the title and even a first race win since 2021, he must improve his qualifying performances.

"I still have to better understand my bike to know what I have to do on my fast laps in qualifying.

"I have to work on my style and with my team we have an idea where I need to improve."

Looking at this year's title battle, Martin believes it's between him, Bagnaia and Marquez.

"The championship still has a long way to go but I think it'll be the three of us fighting for it to the end of the year.

"Each of us have strong points and areas where we could improve."

Marquez commented: "For me, I've got nothing to lose. We'll see if I can keep up my speed and my performance but it's already an honour to be almost as quick as these two riders."