AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – MotoGP world champion Francesco Bagnaia was baffled and angry after throwing away 25 points by crashing out of Sunday’s Grand Prix of the Americas while leading from pole position.
The Ducati rider, who took a Saturday sprint/Sunday double in last month’s Portuguese opener, has now crashed out of his last two full distance races when he might have banked 45 points.
Sunday’s points blank at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas came just as the Italian was poised to retake the championship lead from compatriot Marco Bezzecchi, the Argentina GP winner who finished sixth for VR46 Ducati.
“For the second weekend in a row I don’t know (how it happened),” Bagnaia, who won the Saturday sprint but is now 11 points behind Bezzecchi after three rounds, told BT Sport.
“I am quite angry, disappointed. Not with myself, because I’m 100% sure it wasn’t my fault,” he continued.
“So we need to understand it, we have to know why it is happening. I did many, many laps this weekend without having any issues, and then in the race just controlling, I crashed.”
Bagnaia said something different had happened on the bike compared to two weeks ago in Argentina, when he had pushed perhaps too hard and crashed out of second place.
“It’s true that our bike is so fast, so competitive, but then if you crash and you don’t know why it doesn’t help anything,” he added.
“I have a lot of feeling with the front of my bike, I can push when I want, I can control when I want — like yesterday. But today just crashing like this was something too strange.
“Every lap in that corner I was just saying to myself keep calm there because it’s slippery and I was doing that very slow, to enter without doing aggressive things.”
Bagnaia said he was lucky at least that some of his main rivals, notably Honda’s Marc Marquez and Ducati’s Enea Bastianini, were absent due to injury in both Austin and Argentina and so limiting the damage.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ken Ferris)