Bagnaia rejoices in 'one of the best days I ever had in MotoGP' ahead of Grand Prix of Americas

By Sports Desk April 15, 2023

Reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia labeled Saturday's display as one of his best in MotoGP after setting a new lap record in qualifying and winning the Grand Prix of the Americas Sprint.

Ducati's Bagnaia claimed pole for Sunday's race at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin with a new course lap record, edging Honda's Alex Lins by 0.160 seconds.

Bagnaia backed that up with the maximum 12 points from the Sprint where he won by 2.545 seconds from Lins, moving within one point of championship leader Marco Bezzecchi in the early season standings.

"It was one of the best days I ever had in MotoGP considering the performance we had during the whole day," Bagnaia said.

"My feeling with the bike is growing and in this track, for the first time I’m feeling great. This morning with used tyres I was feeling okay, so already I understood where to improve.

"But today for the race it was very difficult because the conditions were very hot and it was difficult to stop the bike.

"I was having a lot of locking and sincerely, it was a bit of a problem at the start of the race. But then I was used to it. Tomorrow will be a different story."

Bagnaia's impressive Saturday came after a disappointing performance in Argentina where he finished sixth in the Sprint and down in 16th in the Grand Prix.

"I started well, and tried to push, do my pace, to build up a gap," Bagnaia said. "Now I've got to focus on tomorrow, that's going to be harder."

Bezzecchi, who finished sixth in the COTA Sprint, will start the Grand Prix from fifth on the grid. Lins, who will start from second, was hopeful of an improvement on his Honda on Sunday.

"Let's see, for sure. We have a good bike," Lins said. "The electronic side was not working at 100 per cent, so let's see if tomorrow it works like this.

"The race today was a little fast, so we need to take a little bit more care of the tyres to arrive with a better performance in the end of the race."

Bagnaia smashed the COTA lap record with a flying final effort of 2.01.892, which was the first-ever sub 2.02.00 lap at the course.

That time came after Bagnaia had attempted to shake off Alex Marquez in his outlap after both recorded identical times.

But Marquez crashed on his final attempt, with Bagnaia released to record his 12th MotoGP pole in style. Gresini's Marquez will start from fourth, with Moorey VR46's Luca Marini in third.

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