The Mugello winner, who just missed another MotoGP pole, will start behind pre-race favorite Aleix Espargaro.
The Aprilia rider has been nothing short of sensational so far this weekend, but it’s unlikely that having the best race pace alone will suffice.
Therefore, Bagnaia, who admitted Espargaro is one step ahead of the rest, believes he can fight for victory if he plays his cards right.
“I was very close to another pole position, but this weekend Aleix [Espargaro] is really strong, like all other weekends, but more this weekend,” said Bagnaia.
“I don’t know how to beat him, but I think the key is to be smart with the rear tire. It’s true you can go fast at the beginning of the race, but then you have to be consistent at the end of the race. the race .
“If you push early, you’re not constant at the end of the race. It’s going to be a survival race because you have to be very smart in the acceleration.”
Jack Miller to KTM draws closer – Bagnaia wishes Australian ‘good luck’
With Jack Miller rumored to be close to KTM, Francesco Bagnaia has admitted he wants a teammate just like the former Moto3 world champion.
The two have been teammates since 2019 when they signed for Pramac and since then it has been one of the strongest combinations in terms of results but also how they work in the garage.
Speaking about the anticipated news that Miller will be leaving Ducati, Bagnaia added: “For me it was great to see Jack [Miller] because we formed a group within the team. It’s something I really need and really want.
“We worked together from 2019 and from that point it was the beginning of our relationship. We did a great job in the box and we talked a lot. We talk a lot at the weekend about tires, about everything.
“I would like to have the same relationship in the future and who my teammate will be will understand that.
“If we want to go fast and improve, we have to be close and have a good relationship. I want to wish Jack the best of luck in his future.”
Espargaro really pushes the limit on his way to second MotoGP pole in 2022
Although Espargaro had dominated FP2, 3 and 4, it seemed much more difficult during qualifying as the challenges of Bagnaia and MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo left the Aprilia rider on the limit.
Still, Espargaro delivered!
“It was a very, very difficult qualifying,” Espargaro said. “I would say this is the hardest qualifying lap I’ve done so far this season because the track was super slippery.
“I wasn’t sure I could go under the time I set this morning. In FP3 it was actually quite easy. I only used one soft rear tyre.
“Qualifying was very, very slippery and I didn’t really enjoy the lap because I lost the front a few times. I also had a lot of highsides, so I was really riding at the limit of the bike.”
Like Bagnaia, Espargaro has made changes for FP4, and although subtle, it helped the man who is second in the championship feel ‘happy’ with the results.
Espargaro and Aprilia tinkered with electronic settings to try and avoid how much tire degradation could be a factor.
“Normally 90% of the races are won by the fastest rider, but here in Barcelona it’s not that easy,” said Espargaro. “It’s not about going fast. I can go very, very fast, but you have to control the rear tire.
“It’s a bit frustrating because there’s a certain point where you can’t do anything. You accelerate and just wait for the bike to go because the traction control really holds you back.
“In FP4 I tried a different electronics setting to see if I lost a lot of time, but we’re quite happy with the results. The pace I did was quite fast.
“Tomorrow is about finding the thin line between speed and consumption [degradation] of the rear tire.”