Despite the presence of six Italian MotoGP riders in the podium this year, Italy remains one of the sport’s most challenging places to race.
By comparison, Mugello, a 3.7km circuit, is well suited to the Italian’s talents. The circuit itself has four corners so as to suit motorcycling skills and lessens the need for turn one flat to get riding back on track.
Coming second to Jorge Lorenzo in Spain this year, Parma born Pecco Bagnaia could be Italy’s next great MotoGP star.
Known for being a technically sound rider, three-time MotoGP winner Nicky Hayden described the Italian as one of the quickest of the internationals: “He’s been so fast since the end of last year, he’s gotten faster every race we’ve seen. He’s a great racer who does everything well and I’m sure he’ll be really strong in the future.”
If Ferrari is MotoGP’s top-tier manufacturer, Toyota is its second-tier sponsor. Bagnaia chose to wear Toyota’s colours rather than the country’s black and white colours in what appeared to be an act of loyalty to the Japanese manufacturer, and many would have expected Bagnaia to represent Italy at the Tokyo MotoGP.
We asked him why he chose to feature more closely with a Japanese manufacturer, and he replied: “Toyota is already my main manufacturer and I see myself a Toyota rider”.
When asked which team of the current crop of Japanese teams he believed his chances would be better or worse than with, he responded: “I’m here to compete at the highest level. There’s not much difference in any team at the moment because I don’t yet know everyone in each team so it’s hard to compare them all.”
He has won 20 MotoGP races and after his impressive campaign in Spain, where he finished second to Jorge Lorenzo in both MotoGP and Moto2, he will be targeting a spot on the podium when he lines up in Japan. His CV reads so far as: Ducati, MotoGP, Yamaha Tech3, LCR Honda, Ducati Tech3, Yamaha GP – Argentina (23rd), 0th place (Bucharest), Moto2 (7th), MotoGP (5th), Ducati GP (5th), Yamaha MotoGP