Bagnaia keen to seal title and join greats Rossi, Marquez

rugby24 November 2023 07:42| © Reuters
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Francesco Bagnaia is on the brink of becoming just the third rider to claim back-to-back MotoGP titles but the Italian says there is no chance of him celebrating too soon with everything still to play for in the final race weekend of the season.

The Ducati rider holds a 21-point lead over Pramac Racing's Jorge Martin ahead of the season finale at Valencia, where he can seal the championship as early as Saturday by scoring at least four points more than Martin.

Only Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez have won consecutive titles and while Bagnaia would love to join them, he says his focus must be on racing.

"From my memory, just Vale and Marc did it," Bagnaia said at the pre-event press conference on Thursday. "It could be really great to reach this kind of goal but it's something I can only think about after.

"Now I have to think about riding and I know that it's a great track for us."

While the title is within touching distance, Bagnaia said that with 37 points available over the weekend, it was crucial he sets a solid platform in the opening free practice session.

"I will try to do the maximum. Tomorrow (Friday) will be very important to understand everything and Saturday will be very important to be competitive and to try and win the sprint race," he added.

"The maximum goal will be to start on the front row and then push in the sprint race to have the possibility to win."

Martin's title hopes took a nosedive in the previous round in Qatar, where the Spaniard's 10th-place finish left him with nothing to lose this weekend.

"After the last result now it's a bit more difficult for sure," Martin added.

"I'm happy with all the season I did. I will try to enjoy the weekend and win both races."