until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Why Bagnaia sees link between Ducati struggles and Acosta's rise

by Simon Patterson
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Reigning MotoGP world champion Pecco Bagnaia has zeroed in on what he believes is the cause for the chatter woes that he and the rest of Ducati’s cohort have experienced throughout the opening races of the 2024 season.

And he's also revealed that he sees that cause as also being a contributor to the record-breaking pace of sensational rookie Pedro Acosta so far this year.

Despite enjoying a flying start to his Spanish Grand Prix weekend as he went fastest overall and under his own outright lap record from 2022 on Friday (something unexpected from the usually slow-starting Italian), Bagnaia acknowledged that the chatter issues that have plagued Ducati so far in 2024 may yet throw a spanner in the works - but stressed that he and his team are now working towards a definitive solution after identifying the cause of the problem.

“We used a different strategy compared to a normal Friday,” he said at the end of the day. “We used it as a test, and it was very useful. We tested more things than normal, and I’m very happy.

Pecco Bagnaia, Ducati, MotoGP

“We didn’t have vibrations, but normally vibrations arrive on Saturday, in the sprint race, and for that reason we are feet on the ground. But right now, my feeling has increased, and braking [phase of corner] entry is much better.

“We worked to have a better feeling, and when you have better feeling you can do something to be in a better position on the exit of the corners. It can help.”

But as for the root cause, Bagnaia believes it stems from Michelin’s introduction of a modified tyre construction for 2024.

Using new compounds front and rear that Michelin boss Piero Taramasso told The Race are designed to improve both grip and consistency, it’s been a big success so far in terms of rider feedback and laptimes, with lap records improving by a second at two of the year’s first three races.

However, with that extra grip has come an added complication: the chatter that has so far affected Bagnaia’s season more than his fellow Ducati riders Jorge Martin and particularly Enea Bastianini.

“The tyre construction is different and it gives to you much more grip,” Bagnaia explained. “But if you force the tyre, it starts to vibrate.

Pecco Bagnaia, Ducati, MotoGP

"We have to say that the laptimes we are doing this year are incredible, but maybe they [Michelin] were not expecting the kind of performance we are doing.

“The grip is absolutely much higher, and they were maybe to be thinking with the same laptime but more support. But right now it looks like the laptimes are incredible, the race time is always faster, but someone in our situation with my feeling on the bike, with my setting, has this kind of vibration.

“It’s something you just have to improve. In the same moment you understand this kind of tyre, you can do a step.”

And this is where Acosta comes in - with Bagnaia suggesting that the Tech3 Gas Gas rider’s lack of experience with Michelin’s previous tyres has aided his transition.

Pedro Acosta, Tech3 Gas Gas, MotoGP

“It’s something that has done very good for Pedro Acosta,” Bagnaia posited, “because he started already with this tyre.

"He has developed his riding style on a MotoGP bike with this kind of tyre, and I think he has no issue in this area.

"The way he pushes the tyres is impressive, and it’s helpful also for me to understand.”

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