Reigning world champion Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia said his body was in a much better condition to challenge for the win at the inaugural MotoGP Indian Grand Prix to be held at the Buddh International Circuit here on Sunday.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Grand Prix, Bagnaia said, “The Monday after Misano was quite difficult, quite intense. I was quite tired. We have tried our best to arrive here at a hundred percent, but it is not possible because it takes time to recover.”
The championship leader though was positive in his expectations of having a pain-free race this time around.
“I really know perfectly where to put the leg in case I start to struggle a bit. So, I’m in a much better condition compared to Misano.”
Ducati rider Bagnaia, who currently leads the Riders Championship, endured a horrific crash during the opening lap of the Grand Prix at Catalunya on September 3.
Bagnaia lost control of his bike at the second turn, with KTM rider Brad Binder unable to steer clear of the fallen Italian, running over his legs.
Bagnaia surprised the entire paddock with his return the following weekend in Misano for the San Marino Grand Prix. Battling the pain, the 26-year-old qualified a praiseworthy third in his home track, before finishing off the weekend with a double podium in the Sprint Race and the Grand Prix.
Another rider struggling with injury issues after Misano was VR46 Racing Team’s Marco Bezzecchi, who is currently placed third in the Championship.
The Italian, wearing strapping on his arm to the press briefing on Thursday, explained, “During the race weekend I put a lot of stress on my arm and unfortunately I have some hematoma in my bones which is giving me a lot of pain.”
Despite these struggles, the 24-year-old managed to eke out two podium finishes at Misano, ensuring the championship leaders don’t speed too far ahead.
“At Misano, I could do my best. More than this was difficult for me so I’m very happy. This track looks little bit less physical. I will try my best this weekend to be at the front,” he said.
Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin played down his chances this weekend despite his two main rivals dealing with injury-related issues.
The Spaniard reduced the gap at the top of the standings to just 36 points after his Sprint Race and Grand Prix double win in the San Marino GP. With nine races remaining in the season, the 25-year-old will fancy his chances of catching a recovering Bagnaia.
“I am just trying to be competitive, trying to understand the track before coming. I tried a lot on the simulator. I don’t know the expectation. I will try to be competitive and get the win,” he said.
The Indian Grand Prix qualifying and Sprint Race will be held on Saturday, September 23, with the Grand Prix race scheduled for September 24.
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