Pecco Bagnaia lifts the winner’s trophy skyward on the podium in Misano, a gesture that has become customary for him. On the move, looking at opponents from top to bottom, and enjoying the audience cheering him on: It’s the fourth time in a row that he’s allowed himself to be invested in those sentiments. But yesterday was different, better. Because he was in Misano, his approved course after moving from Chivasso to Pesaro to train with Valentino Rossi and the other riders at his academy. Because next to him was Enea Bastianini, who will be his teammate next year. Because a series of successes that no one at Ducati has achieved before. Many have come from Piedmont to Romania, that red cloud of fans who follow and support him: he repaid them in the best possible way. “There were many flags with 63, my number,” Biko said. It was an incredible thing to see them all together, it made me happy and I hope they grow even more.”
There are all conditions for that to happen, Bagnaia is now the man of the moment, the rider capable of winning 10 of his last 20 races, the MotoGP reference. Nothing seemed impossible to him, he learned from his mistakes and turned his weaknesses into strengths, without compromising his humility. “I am happy to hear certain numbers, they are important, but I don’t want to give them much weight – he was quick to assert, as if to justify himself -. We will do the math at the end of the season.”
His goal is clear, winning the MotoGP title. This is a dream that every rider has grown up with since he was a child, and one that Pecco has been striving to achieve for years, no matter what sacrifices it requires. The odds are there, now the points separating him in the standings from Fabio Quartararo are 30, just 4 races ago he was more than tripled, 91. The driver from Chivasso undermined his rival’s advantage and his confidence with victories. Now it sounds perfect: “I find it hard to find it in a weak spot,” ratified Bastianini, who tried to beat him to the end. “I don’t want to think about the championship, I’ve already made that mistake and paid for it – Beko remembered the doubts that prevailed at the beginning of the year -. The most important thing is to focus on one race after another, to try to keep doing well and to win when there is a possibility of that, to use intelligence.” Quality that does not decrease with speed.
How quiet he is in front of the mics, he manages to get tough as soon as he lowers his helmet visor (that modern helmet he wanted to dedicate to NBA star Dennis Rodman for home racing). As if wearing his leather suit was enough to turn into Superman or even the Flash. On the track you can see the real Pecco, the one who caught Viñales yesterday and then Bastianini in the bay, 27 laps without the slightest flaw. “I am in very good shape, and there is no need to stop” dictating. With 6 races left on the calendar, anything is possible and sooner or later Bagnaia will have to think about rankings. I will do that when I get 10 or 5 points from Fabio. That will be the moment.” If he continues with this roadmap, he won’t have to wait long. The red cloud was getting bigger and bigger and the opponents looked at it anxiously. Like any self-respecting superhero, Pecco seems to get excited when things get tough. And you win.