“Bagnaia’s comment is just bullsh*t”

francesco bagnaia
Francesco Bagnaia | photo © Randy van Maasdijk

Hervé Poncharal has lashed out at Francesco Bagnaia in an interview with the French PaddockGP. The IRTA chairman did this in response to a number of statements in which Bagnaia suggested that in his opinion there should be a difference between the factory vs. Independent Team engines, this to increase safety.

Francesco Bagnaia did not have the happiest race in Le Mans on Sunday, as the reigning world champion ended his race early in the gravel after a clash with Maverick Viñales. Despite the fact that both gentlemen immediately after the crash, they quickly agreed that this was a racing accident. As if nothing had happened, the two returned together on the back of a scooter in the paddock.

However, at the end of the day during the usual media debriefs, Bagnaia did make a number of notable statements, particularly focusing on safety and crashes in the early stages of the race earlier in the day.

Francesco Bagnaia: “Most incidents happen early in the race. At the moment just about anyone can win races, the whole field is evenly matched. The level is just extremely high at the moment, which is great, but it also creates dangerous situations. There is no longer a 0.6 or 0.7 second difference between a factory or satellite machine. However, that worked well at the time. The ‘big four’ (Rossi, Stoner, Pedrosa and Lorenzo) were born because at the time (time when there was no standard ECU, etc.) they had access to a factory bike and were always the strongest. The rest drove further back because they didn’t have the potential and their machines were a little less. At the moment everything is extreme, in the technical field but also in the field of electronics and anyone can win races. In my opinion there should be a difference between the factory and the satellite engines, or should I put it this way, at least something should be done to prevent these kinds of incidents.”

The above quote is part of Bagnaia’s interview with Italian television. In any case, there was one person who responded immediately on Sunday and that was IRTA chairman Hervé Poncharal.

Hervé Poncharal: “I was very surprised when I read what Francesco Bagnaia had said at Le Mans on Sunday night. He is the reigning world champion, someone I have a lot of respect and admiration for. Normally he is always pretty calm in his comments after a race but this time it was pure bullshit. Pecco is a rider who ended up in the MotoGP class through Moto3, Moto2. In the premier class he initially joined an Independent Team, say a private or satellite team. You can call it what you want, but he was happy to have a high performance engine that allowed him to stand out. And as he moved up into the premier class, he was offered a factory seat, which is kind of a dream come true for any talented rider.
And what is my surprise, now that he benefits from this system, he has a factory bike at his disposal, he suddenly thinks that it will be good that there should be six or seven tenths per lap difference between the factory and satellite engines that are present on the grid.
Robbing the engines of the private teams of six or seven tenths per lap. That’s about the deficit he likes to see imposed on them, so that he can indulge himself among the rich and powerful. In the interview he even pointed to the big four (Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa) who were able to shine in their years because they had much more powerful factory engines than those of the private teams and in his eyes this was a wonderful time.
And then, if we only knew how much work has been done to have a competitive and decent grid as it is today. We as Independent Teams, with Dorna, with the FIM, with the MSMA, have managed to convince the manufacturers that they should equip us with powerful machines, that it is in their interest to promote young drivers and to develop a sporting policy. feed. In the end, almost all the bikes currently on the grid are factory machines, except for a few Ducatis that are one year old. But at least at Honda, within the Pierer Mobility group (KTM and GASGAS) we all have engines with a 2023 spec, I think that’s a fantastic situation!

Remarkable in Le Mans was that on Sunday the numbers one to four in the race were all drivers from an Independent Team, in fact the winner (Marco Bezzecchi) is on the road this year with one of two older machines that are part of the MotoGP grid .

Hervé Poncharal: “As you have noticed, the first four positions at the French Grand Prix were four Independent Team drivers, and it is fantastic to see that the title fight is still very close, that there is only one point between Bezzecchi – a young driver who wins on a Ducati bike from a private team – and Bagnaia who has access to a factory bike of the same brand. It’s great for everyone, it’s great for the sport, it’s a great development and it allows us, the Independent Teams, to convince our partners, who we can also call sponsors, to join us because we tell them that we’re not just here to fill the grid, we’re here to perform! We can win races and eventually go for the title.”

Despite his DNF in Le Mans, Bagnaia is still leading the title fight with 94 World Cup points scored. Because of his win, Bezzecchi managed to approach his compatriot by one point and he now occupies second place with 93 points, while Brad Binder left Le Mans on Sunday evening with 81 World Cup points scored to his name and thus takes third place in the standings.

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