MotoGP: Title Contenders Talk About Racing, Testing, Dovizioso

MotoGP: Title Contenders Talk About Racing, Testing, Dovizioso

© 2022, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

“Ready to fight”: contenders ready to take the gloves off on the Riviera de Rimini

Thursday, 01 September 2022

We are BACK at Misano and eargerly awaiting another chapter in the title fight, so ahead of track action at the Gran Premio Gryfyn di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini the three key players sat down for their own press conference: Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team).

Here are some quotes!

QUOTES

FABIO QUARTARARO

How special is it to come back after clinching the World Championship here last year?

“Of course, it’s a very special place for me, for many reasons. For the title last year, of course, but also in 2019 it was the first time I really fought for a victory. So, it’s a special place, a track that I like, so hopefully we’re going to do well here this year also.”

 

Fabio Quartararo. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Fabio Quartararo. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Do you think it will be easier to fight with the Ducatis this weekend than it was at the Red Bull Ring? Will it be fighting against the Italian bikes (Aprilia, Ducati) like it has been this season?

“Recently, it has been a bit normal to fight against them, but actually, I’ve always been super-fast here in Misano. In Race 1, we were fighting until the last moment with Pecco – I couldn’t try and overtake, but we were pretty close – and the second race, of course, was different. But, I’m ready to fight. It looks like the weather is going to be tricky, but it’s the same for everyone.”

What do you expect or hope to be testing next week?

“You know the answer already. We will test the 2023 bike and of course the ’23 engine. We already had a small test in Barcelona and it looks like we’re going to have a better test here in Misano, so really looking forward to testing.”

A few words on Dovizioso’s retirement?

“Yeah, it looks like I know Andrea since I was born, on the TV. For me, He’s a rider that stayed a really long time in MotoGP™, a great athlete, a great rider, so of course, it’s a big name going away from MotoGP™. He did quite a lot, I think he won more than 15 races in MotoGP™, so a big rider and wish him the best after this race.”

On the football match:

“I prefer to not show all my skills; I keep them for myself!”

ALEIX ESPARGARO

Do you think you can show more of your potential here than you could at the Red Bull Ring?

“I hope. I can’t wait to ride. Sincerely, Austria was very tough for me. I never really enjoyed riding the bike in Austria. I did my best, I tried everything I could, I worked very hard, and a decent sixth place, but if you want to fight for the title, it’s difficult to be in sixth place. You need to be on the podium, especially when you have disadvantage to the leader, and when the third-placed rider is winning, winning, winning. So, hopefully here in Misano, I can recover again the feelings. Last year was not that bad and this year the bike is better, so hopefully I can be fast again.”

 

Aleix Espargaro. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Aleix Espargaro. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Thoughts on Oliveira and R. Fernandez riding Aprilias next year…

“I’m very happy and I congratulated Aprilia, Razlan, and also the two riders. I said welcome to the Aprilia project to Raul and Miguel. Two very fast riders and I think they have a very good future in front of them because they are still very, very young, so hopefully they can help us to develop the bike and to fight against eight Ducatis for the Championship. I can’t really wait to see how they react when they jump on the bike in Valencia soon.”

What do you expect or hope to be testing next week?

“We have an engine with 55 horsepower more… [Looks at Fabio and laughs] No, we have a big list of items to try. Still not like the full ’23 bike, but a lot of things that have been tested previously in past races for Sava, some aerodynamic things, some electronics, some engine, so it’s going to be a really demanding two days of testing, really busy, and from Misano test, they will be able to build a more final ’23 spec to try in Valencia.”

A few words on Dovizioso’s retirement…

“I fully respect him. He has had a successful career and has been a hard worker. An inspiration also for me in many stages of my career. What he did with Ducati is something that, if you have to learn about it, the level that he reached during his years in Ducati has been amazing. So, I wish him the best and for sure he will enjoy riding the motocross now. So, I congratulate him for his career and bye-bye.”

On the football match:

“I think I’m better than Pecco as a coach, sincerely. It was quite easy for my team to beat him!”

If picking a player for Barcelona…

“I would say Maverick; Maverick was very good. Because, I know him because when we were together at Suzuki, we played a lot of football at GPs, and I know that he’s good.”

FRANCESCO BAGNAIA

3 wins in 2 GPs, 44 points off Fabio, is Misano the perfect track to come and try to create history?

“I don’t think it’s ‘only’ 44, it’s ‘a lot’ 44. I’m very happy to race at my home Grand Prix because I’ve been looking forward since the start of the season, to hopefully see a lot of fans in the crowd. I’m sure the battle will be tough because Fabio last year was competitive and with the step Aprilia have done, Aleix will be in front. A lot of Italian riders with the Ducati, they will be stronger, Franco too I think. It won’t be easy for the conditions as the forecast isn’t great but I think we have a good possibility to do a good job.”

 

Francesco "Pecco" Bagnaia. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Thoughts on Enea Bastianini as your 2023 teammate?

“I’m happy. I didn’t want to have to decide who will be my teammate because it’s something that needs to come from the team, not the rider. I think we can do a good job with Enea, I know him very well from when we were young, so I think we can do a good job. The most important thing will be to let him know and let him learn our type of work that I think can be great.”

What will you be testing at the Misano Test?

“I don’t think I have so many things to try, I think some aerodynamic parts because we are working on it. I think it’s ok that it’s like this.”

Thoughts on Dovizioso’s retirement…

“For sure it will be a very emotional weekend for him to stop here in Misano. All of us will have a great memory of Dovi because he did so many great things, also with Ducati in the last years, because he was the only one fighting with Marc in the moment where Marc was really at the top before Fabio arrived. We will miss Andrea because it was one of the most clear people in the paddock.”

Thoughts on football match:

“Yeah I did second so 20 points are always important… the problem was to whoever did the teams because in Aleix’s team, 6 or 7 riders were so, so, so good! Michele Pirro was in goal but he didn’t know he could use the hands. He was trying to stop the ball with his head or foot but not the hands.”

Luca Marini – he’s like Andrea Pirlo…

“The weird thing about Jorge was we said ‘Jorge come, we have to change you’, and he said ‘sshhh’. Then he did something like Ronaldinho and then he said ‘now you can change me’!”

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