Pecco Bagnaia is top scorer in Moto3
Britain’s Nicky Hayden is the latest MotoGP star to lament the loss of the Italian promoter of the other Grand Prix – but wait until you see Pecco Bagnaia.
The 19-year-old Padua rider, nicknamed ‘Vulcano,’ debuted on a Yamaha at the famous San Marino circuit in 2015 as the leading teenager in a field full of experienced veterans and rising stars.
He and brother Manuel have now won in KTM machines this season, while Pecco has two pole positions in the 125cc championship.
Pecco is on the verge of breaking his maiden World Championship race result, as second in the 125cc race on his debut in May, and will hope to add to that haul at Monza on Sunday.
He has completed 125cc qualifying in pole position four times – once in July’s Laguna Seca race – but when we caught up with him he was talking about winning in the Twin Ring Mugello event in September.
“We’ve got some real weaknesses [in our team], but we are trying to make the performance improve,” Pecco said.
“We have to wait until the Mugello race to try and dominate the whole weekend and have the best championship result. Then we will see what we can do in the World Championship.”
He is not about to be discouraged by the easy prospects of the Grand Prix season, though, having recently hit the front in the Italian Superbike championship and set a new season record for fastest lap.
“If I keep the same attention to detail and remain strong, we could become the best team in Italy,” he said.
Pecco believes his guidance from Andre Lotterer, the two-time World Superbike champion who is now managing his career, gives him real grounding and security.
“He’s one of the most experienced riders in the world. He has had so many years of experience with different teams and I am learning and gaining, plus, he doesn’t waste any time,” he said.
However, as with most young riders, there is still room for improvement, and Pecco knows that he must solve his fuel problems if he is to take his place amongst the greats – but do not expect him to make any announcements on his future for a while yet.
“In July, I was back in Italy after doing two races in Germany. I’ve spent a lot of time in the simulator but we’ll work on doing some work during the winter – that’s what I can’t do, but a couple of months.
“From the results we can see the gap between racing and testing, that’s why we will try to have a winter programme. The Yamaha MotoGP team let me race in KTM – it’s easier there. I can do the full race season if I have a winter programme. The KTM is not difficult because I am more confident than with any other motorcycle.”
You can find all of the latest updates from this weekend’s Californian MotoGP and Moto2 race at sportive.bbc.co.uk/news.