Francesco Bagnaia dissatisfied: Martin and Marquez were simply faster!

Francesco Bagnaia had to learn the hard way at Le Mans how big an impact even the smallest mistake can have. Instead of being in pole position, he ended up in the gravel trap at turn nine in qualifying on Saturday morning, which unknowingly affected his sprint race a few hours later because the crashed motorcycle could no longer be repaired in time. In fact, the Ducati star had to start on his spare bike instead and was completely lost. On Sunday he managed to make amends with third place, but there was no trace of satisfaction after the 2024 French GP.

“Today these two were simply faster than me,” Bagnaia had to grudgingly admit in the official MotoGP press conference after the end of the race. Of course, this meant his two World Championship rivals Jorge Martin and Marc Marquez, who finished the main race on the legendary Bugatti Circuit ahead of him in first and second place – even though the Italian had been leading for a long time after a rocket start. With six laps to go, Jorge Martin slipped through and then Marc Marquez in the final lap; Bagnaia was unable to seriously defend himself against either of them.

Francesco Bagnaia complains: Way too slow in turn 9!

“In the last five laps today I had to fight more than usual, I had no reserves left. It was the complete opposite to Jerez,” he complains. Two weeks ago at the Spanish Grand Prix he had Ducati star was able to fend off a late attack from Marquez and even pull away again in the final meters. That didn’t work this time. “At least I’ve improved. I crashed here last year and two years ago too. So I’m happy to have even made it to the finish line and to have done it in a quick way,” says Bagnaia jokingly, just to then to get serious again: “Of course I can never be satisfied with a third place. Let’s go to Barcelona, ​​I want to do better there again.”

While there was still guesswork on Saturday after the sprint disaster, this time the reigning world champion was at least able to immediately explain why the desired result in the main race was not achieved: “I was really strong in the first and second sectors, especially in turn seven. When braking for turns But in nine I lost a lot of time. When I was behind Jorge, he was able to open up a gap to me with just one brake. It was strange, I just didn’t have the feeling I needed to brake harder and get more speed to take the curve.”

Braking for Turn 9 caused Pecco Bagnaia big problems at Le Mans, Photo: LAT Images
Braking for Turn 9 caused Pecco Bagnaia major problems at Le Mans, Photo: LAT Images

Marc Marquez prevents the final Bagnaia attack: strong maneuver!

It was this weakness in the left-hand bend of the fast ‘Chemin-aux-Boeufs’ chicane that prevented Bagnaia from counterattacking Martin. “I wanted to attack Jorge in turn 13 because I knew I was faster there,” is how he describes his strategy for the supposed race win. But he had made the calculation without Marquez: “Then Marc attacked me in turn nine. That was a strong overtaking maneuver. I had no chance to counterattack again because he was also very strong in the penultimate corner.”

The result of the loss of position in the last lap: In the MotoGP World Championship, Bagnaia (91 points, note) is now only two points ahead of Marquez (89), who pushed Enea Bastianini out of third place. World Cup leader Martin (129) is already 38 points short of the lead. The picture in the title fight is slowly becoming a little clearer after the fifth race weekend of the season. There are many signs that there will be a three-way fight if Martin doesn’t run further away. “For me, we are currently the three most complete drivers. The others are fast enough to be able to win races, but in terms of speed and consistency, the three of us have a little more,” believes Bagnaia and adds: “With a view to the World Cup “It probably comes down to the three of us more or less.”

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