MotoGP: Martin Says “I Just Need To Attack”

MotoGP: Martin Says “I Just Need To Attack”

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

#PECCOvsMARTIN: “I’ll take the risk and gamble”

The two contenders join the pre-event Press Conference on Thursday before heading for an awesome photo call in Doha

Thursday, 16 November 2023

It all comes down to this: two contenders split by 14 points, a maximum of 74 still up for grabs, and two more weekends of competition for this season of the world’s most exciting sport. On Thursday at the Qatar Airways Grand Prix of Qatar, the pre-event Press Conference therefore had a predictable guest list in the best way, welcoming title contenders Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) ahead of a first potential match point for Pecco.

Both then headed to the city for a spectacular photo opportunity against the awesome backdrop of the city skyline. Here are some quotes and photos from touchdown in Doha!

On seeing the MotoGP™ Stories episode:

FRANCESCO BAGNAIA: “First of all, it’s strange to say that that was just seven years ago. It seems like it was a lot longer. But yeah, when Jorge arrived in the Mahindra team I’d already followed him in the Rookies Cup the year before and he was doing incredible things, so I was expecting to have a very strong teammate. The first test in the wet, he was already faster than me. So yeah, he’s been very, very competitive from the start. He needed time to adapt to everything because some riders arrive and assume that they’re competitive and other riders need more time. The fact that right now we are fighting for the title is great and I think Jorge, Aspar and Gino can be proud.”

 

Defending MotoGP World Champion Francesco "Pecco" Bagnaia (right). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Defending MotoGP World Champion Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia (right). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

How do you feel about your chances of getting the job done this weekend?

“I’m not considering this weekend as a match point, honestly I have to gain 23 points I think, and that’s too much in a single weekend. Jorge is doing a really great job and it will be more important to think session by session to work like we did last weekend in Sepang and try to be competitive. We know perfectly well that the tarmac has been resurfaced and it could be a great question for the tyres. I think it will be demanding on the tyres because it’s new. Let’s see. It’s a track that I like. We’ve always been competitive here, apart from last year when it was at the wrong part of the season. But the lap record is still mine and I think our bike suits very well to this circuit.”

The goal is to beat Martin this weekend?

“Yeah, maybe that would be better because 14 points to lead the championship is nothing, 37 points or weekend is a lot, so you can gain or lose a lot of points in one weekend. It will be important to stay calm and work well and try to do the maximum because last weekend he gained 3 points on Saturday and then lost four on Sunday, so it’s very balanced and I think it will be a head-to-head.”

What about Bastianini?

“I don’t know. I was quite clear with the team and I’ll always say that if he has the possibility to win and he’s in a situation that he needs to push. So let’s see, but for sure it’ll be OK to work together during the sessions, maybe. I always prefer to be alone, but maybe it’s time to work together.”

Reaction to the crash in 2022…

“We were there behind, pushing for seven points and I was on the limit. I was fighting with him and then nothing… I lost the front. It was worse for him because he became injured on the leathers, so it was quite scary for him. That wasn’t the ideal start to the season. We were in quite a bit of trouble at that point.”

On the new track surface:

“I think it will be better for everyone. New asphalt means more grip. We always arrive here in March when it’s cold at the beginning, so for me it will be better, but we need to see for the tyres because we will race in different conditions compared to the past years and it will be a lot hotter. It’ll be a big question for the tyres, for sure.”

Are you still happy to be sharing data when you’re fighting for the World Championship?

“It’s always been like this. He can see my data when I’m faster and I can see his data when he’s faster. So for me it’s the same. A good thing is that we ride in two different ways, so it’s also difficult to compare sometimes.”

Do you expect it to be a close battle here?

“Let’s see. I don’t know because the new asphalt can change a lot and in the past also last year, you need to control the tyres a lot. We were seeing fastest laps in the last laps last year so it will be tricky for sure an interesting. It would be nice to have a battle like in the past. I would be happy to be in the side of Andrea Dovizioso!”

On seeing the MotoGP™ Stories episode:

JORGE MARTIN: “I watched it this week, I really enjoyed it. I had a lot fun watching it, I was laughing by myself in my hotel room. It helped me disconnect a little. When I saw the video, I felt a lot of respect and remembered a lot of good moment with Pecco. For sure, at the time I never expected that we would be here sitting together and fighting for a MotoGP World Championship. It’s an honour to be here with Pecco, but now let’s go and win it.”

 

Jorge Martin. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jorge Martin. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Is it now essential to cut the gap?

“Yeah for sure, I don’t know the maths, I just know I need to recover points. This is my target. I’m already second in the Championship even if I don’t ride in the next two races so I just need to attack and recover points.”

Out in the desert with Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah. Good way to relax?

“Yesterday was an amazing day. Thanks to Nasser, it was an amazing experience. I felt in Malaysia I was riding a little too blocked on Sunday. I was feeling like I was crashing at every corner and this didn’t help to go fast and smooth. Now it’s like I told you before, I’m already in second, I just can change to first so I will take the risks and maybe take some gambles to do it.”

Bastianini didn’t take too much risk against Pecco in the Sprint at Sepang, for example… does he have more friends out there?

“I don’t care about friends; I just care about myself. I feel if I can do my 100%, I can beat all of them so I am focused on the weekend and myself and if someone helps him or not, I can’t control it, so I don’t really care.”

On the new surface in Qatar:

“I didn’t have a look yet but as Pecco said there will be more grip with new asphalt. Tyres will be the key. We have a lot info from the past so maybe it will be useless. Maybe we have to start from zero and let’s try to be clever and fast to understand the situation.”

Ducati sharing data policy continues, or are there more secrets?

“For me it is the same, we are used to this. He knows my set up exactly because I almost never change! I think it’s like this. Battling for a Championship isn’t easy when you know your rival is looking at your data, but I’m also looking at his.”

Past battles in Qatar have been spectacular, do you expect a close battle this weekend?

“It will be super close for me. It’s difficult to understand now but it will be a close battle between all the fast riders. It’s a good chance to recover points but also a good chance to lose a lot of points. We need to be clever and fast and try to win it.”

Fans over the world are picking Team Pecco or Team Martin. Who would be dream celebrity fan?

“Difficult to say, Valentino was my idol so maybe him but that might be difficult! Let’s say Jason Statham!”

 

Title contenders Jorge Martin (right) and Francesco "Pecco" Bagnaia (left) pose with the MotoGP World Championship trophy in downtown Doha. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Title contenders Jorge Martin (right) and Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia (left) pose with the MotoGP World Championship trophy in downtown Doha. Photo courtesy Dorna.

Latest Posts

Canadian Superbike: Race Two Results From RAD Torque Raceway

      More, from a press release issued by CSBK: Collins outduels...

Video: Garrett Gerloff “Is This Game Over? – Misano”

American racer Garrett Gerloff and his videographer Brad Schwartzrock...

American Flat Track: Race Results From The Arai Bridgeport Half-Mile

Progressive American Flat Track (AFT) Championship Arai Bridgeport Half-Mile Bridgeport Speedway Swedesboro,...

Canadian Superbike: Race One Results From RAD Torque Raceway

      More, from a press release issued by CSBK: Young holds...

American Flat Track: Arai Sponsoring Bridgeport Half-Mile

Arai Helmet, Drag Specialties Named Title and Presenting Sponsors...