Interview with Pecco Bagnaia – Phillip Island Grand Prix 

Pecco Bagnaia has worked very hard this year for the Sky Racing Team VR46 in order to bring points, as the team gets closer to end of the season. It is never easy rocking up to a Championship with no previous data and experience so the journey has been rewarding as the time went on. Pecco finished fourth in Japan last weekend and it was a very satisfying result. The young Italian rider is super talented and has been experiencing the ups and downs of two-wheel motorcycle racing. We caught up with him yesterday to discuss his philosophies around Moto2, his feelings about the Phillip Island circuit and what he thrives on to achieve top results.

Pecco has his sister by his side to help with allowing him to focus on racing fast and hard. It is a great systematic approach that has enhanced his results and ability to work on improving week by week. It is also wonderful to see the team representing and bringing awareness to plastics that pollute the ocean. The team is utilising non-plastic products and making sure the message is heard loud and clear: we must protect our oceans. The livery will be displayed on race day for the world to see once again after it appeared in Misano. Sky Ocean Rescue! In Australia, we also have issues with plastic pollution and plastic bags are being banned in certain places. In order to eat healthy and also look after the animals of the oceans, we have to do our part. What a great race to represent this cause. 

As we get closer to the end of the season, we see more riders preparing for 2018 as various riders make the jump to MotoGP. Could 2018 be a year where Pecco makes his mark to win on a consistent basis. 

Q: How are you feeling coming here to Phillip Island to race?

Pecco: I am feeling good because it is a very beautiful track. I like it and this is the first year that I come here with Moto2. It will for sure be different. In Moto3, I never got a good result but in the last two years, I was very fast but also in Moto3 I crashed and never made podium. We will see this year if I can do something better. It is a nice track. I feel very good with the bike and for sure we can make a very good start.

Q: In terms of the circuit layout, where do you find you have the strong points versus the negative points? 

Pecco: I do not know. This track is very important to have a lot of speed in the middle of the corner and at this point I am very strong. It can be for me good.

Q: The result in Japan, very well done, do you come here to Phillip Island with a lot of confidence?  

Pecco: If it will be wet yes! I do prefer dry though because this track with Moto2 in these conditions is nice and I can enjoy it.

Q: What is it like riding the Moto2 bike, the pressure coming to Phillip Island, do you manage this well or just go out there and race as hard as you can?

For sure it will be a normal weekend for me and nothing different. There is more pressure for me in the Italian Grand Prix. I think this track it will be normal.

Q: So what do you focus on with Thursday to be ready for Friday and Saturday?

Pecco: On Thursday, well I made a change since last year and this year my sister is with me (smiles). This is a better because of the leathers or my helmet, which needs to be prepared. My sister helps me and it is better as I can focus in the box for the sessions to understand the settings and what one I will use in the practice. This includes the tyres. I am very grateful for the help and I think that every good rider need this because it is very important for keeping the head clear.

Q: What is like travelling with family? 

Pecco: It is a nice part of my travel. You have a little bit of family with you and it is important every day because especially in these three races we are out of Europe for three weeks. It is very important to have an assistant or another family member because your head is in the races and then when you need to be clear, you have your sister to speak about how you feel.

Q: How often will you sit down with your engineers and team members to strategise for qualifying and the race?

Pecco: Normally we sit to speak after all of the sessions but the most important meeting is in the afternoon when we finish everything. You have one hour to discuss with your crew chief and mechanics to speak about the bike and the things you will use in the qualifying. It is a meeting that is very important for me and also you see the sessions in the computers versing the other guys to make different changes.

Q: What is it like when you go out there, it is not working and you want to make change? How do they make positive change for you?

Pecco: It is the difference between mechanics because someone may see too much on the computers and then listen to you but not completely. I do not like this too much. I prefer to ride and then in the box say I don’t like this or that because of that. My mechanics say yes ok, we work for you. It is very important when I do not feel comfortable to have someone that understands me.

Q: So the relationship between you and the team members is so crucial to the success?

Pecco: Yes for me it is. I want a good feeling with the entire crew and it is important to feel comfortable with your team. It is very important to trust in your person and for me it is the key of your career. If you do not like the person, it is hard to do things.

Q: In terms of the Moto2 Championship, do you study other riders to see how you can improve?

Pecco: It is crucial to study the other riders and most of all the first two or three because it makes a difference. I feel Franco Morbidelli is the one to study because he makes something different this year. I ride totally different compared to him. He has changed a lot since last year. If I can understand something from him, it is important to make it because he has won eight races this year. We need to know why he can do these results.

Q: How would you define your riding style?

Pecco: Smooth. I use more speed inside the corner and speed with the bike. In the lap time, we are the same.

Q: Are you prepared for the wind here at the Island with the Moto2 bike?

Pecco: Yes for sure. Every rider wants to win races. This year, I think in Le Mans and Sachsenring we were very close to the win. In the first year you have to understand the bike and team and prepare for that result. Every time in the sessions we are close to first. I have to understand how I can win.

Credit: Deborah Wedes & Myanna Wedes

Credit: Deborah Wedes & Myanna Wedes

Credit: Deborah Wedes & Myanna Wedes

Credit: Deborah Wedes & Myanna Wedes

Credit: Deborah Wedes & Myanna Wedes

Credit: Deborah Wedes & Myanna Wedes

Credit: Deborah Wedes & Myanna Wedes

Credit: Deborah Wedes & Myanna Wedes

About The Author

Myanna Wedes

Myanna has an incredible grasp and knowledge of the sport in detail and continues to secure lead stories every week. She is in constant contact with team and rider media management. She is an admitted lawyer with two degrees and is currently writing a biography on Alan Jones MBE 1980 F1 World Champion. She is a fond lover of two wheel motorsport, predominantly MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.