Bagnaia's metamorphosis passes through Assen

Bagnaia's metamorphosis passes through Assen

The great growth of Pecco. He knows he is strong and has erased the doubts that tormented him. The duel with Bezzecchi for now is sincere, loyal, extraordinarily sporty

In the motorcycle world there is a track which is defined by all as the university of motorcycles. It was one of Valentino's favorites who became a doctor in those parts. It is the Assen track in the Netherlands, the only one where races have always been held since the beginning of the championship in 1949 and where, until 2016, races were held on Saturdays. Pecco Bagnaia also graduated in Assen last year. We only found out later. There are two Bagnaias. Before and after Assen 2022. Before last year's Dutch Grand Prix he had won only 6 races out of the 60 contested in MotoGP and was 91 points behind the championship leader. With the victory in Assen he started a new life. He made up all the gap to become world champion and won 9 more times (plus three sprint races). From Assen to Assen he collected some impressive statistics with 20 podiums including 12 victories out of 26 races (including sprint races). From Holland to Holland he became a champion, he reduced mistakes without being able to eliminate them completely because on a motorbike you always take risks and if you want to win you can't be satisfied so every now and then it can happen that you end up with your butt on the ground. But Pecco is learning to rise again even from falls and every time he gets up stronger than before.

The last weekend in Assen is a practical example of this. Pecco started out suffering in practice on Friday, then lap after lap (and adjustment after adjustment) he found his Ducati again. On Saturday he settled for second place in the Sprint, on Sunday he won. The duel with the Bez, another son of Rossi like him, for now is sincere, loyal, extraordinarily sporty. They joke, they bet on dinners, they make fun of each other, they have fun as if they were always at the ranch challenging each other over a salamella. They are different, one Piedmontese transplanted to Pesaro, the other the classic Romagna. They race against from mini bikes. They respect each other and the impression is that they will continue to do so even with the stakes growing. "You will see the day when you will fight shoulder to shoulder for the World Championship if you laugh again", Pol Espargaro told him in the back box at Assen on Sunday afternoon. But one thing is certain they will never become like Rossi and Biaggi or like Rossi and Marquez. “When I saw Bez overtake Brad I had to start pushing because I knew he was very fast – Pecco said-. This was crucial, because I had to take a certain risk. But it's normal if you want to win." He knows that his rival for the title will above all be his friend Bez, a Ducati rider like him, even if not from the factory team. Bastianini, his official team mate, hasn't recovered from the injury in the first race yet, maybe after the long break (he'll be back on track in August) he too will get into the fight for victory, but his World dream is now gone .

Bagnaia after last year's Assen travels to another planet. He knows he is strong, he has erased the doubts that tormented him. “The important thing is to be the strongest, not the fastest - he says - I'm learning because at the beginning of the year I felt strong, but I made some mistakes and we're working to try not to repeat them. The last few races have been quite constant and we go on holiday happy“. How can anyone who has a 35-point lead over Jorge Martin and 36 over Bezzecchi get there. But the of him is not just an arithmetic advantage. Anyone who has won a World Championship by recovering 91 points behind knows that a championship never ends, especially this year that doubles the races with the Sprint Races, as does the risk of getting hurt: “However, I prefer long races, because they give you the possibility to better administer and manage the situation, while in the Sprint race, sometimes you have to take more risks. In the last few races we have been consistent and now we have to continue like this". He's getting wise too. Meanwhile, the ranking of Italian multiple winners sees him paired with Dovizioso at 15 wins. Only the legends remain ahead, Agostini (68) and Valentino (68). There's a long way to go.

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