Bagnaia swept both the sprint race and the grand prix last week in Portugal, but had a tough Friday at the Argentina Grand Prix.
Only 10th at the end of FP1 as he struggled to find a strong base set-up, Bagnaia and Ducati were able to improve in the afternoon session to secure a direct spot in the Q2 pole shootout session for qualifying on Saturday.
As part of the new sprint weekend format, the Q1 and Q2 groups for qualifying are decided on the combined times at the end of FP2 on Friday, with the top 10 advancing directly to the pole shootout.
Given the grid already tested in Portugal prior to the first round, Bagnaia admits the difference that made compared to the first day of running in Argentina was “a lot”.
And he said, if you don’t start strongly, the hour-long FP2 session becomes “stressful” as riders both look to improve their bike and not compromise their weekend by dropping into Q1.
“A lot - in Portimao everything was already settled,” he said when asked how much of a difference testing in Portugal made to the first day at the Algarve track last week compared to Friday at Rio Hondo.
“[On Friday], no [everything wasn’t settled]. It’s quite clear seeing my session, my laps, that I was constant, but I was doing just two laps [at a time] because I had to work a lot to improve my situation and we did it.
“So, for that I’m happy. But it’s a bit stressful, the FP2, because you have to do many laps, you have to improve and when you are in a bad situation it’s not easy.
“We managed to improve and the objective was to be in the top 10, and we did it.
“But we have to think about another strategy to be more competitive from the start and not have so much work to do in FP2.”
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Bagnaia says he is still chasing front-end feeling when running new tyres in qualifying trim, which is where the Aprilias of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales – who topped Friday practice in Argentina – have the edge.
“The bike [in FP1] was a bit difficult for me to find a base,” he added.
“[In FP2] was so much better from the start. We had to work, we didn’t do many laps in a row because we were a bit behind, and we had to work.
“But, in terms of pace, I’m happy. I feel great on used tyres, I feel close to the Aprilias on used tyres.
“We are just missing with new tyres. They are more competitive than us and I’m struggling to find a good feeling with the front that is normally there. So, we are working on that.”Read Also:Espargaro: Aprilia “is not good” in Argentina, despite MotoGP practice sweepQuartararo ‘doesn’t feel normal’ on Yamaha after nightmare Argentina MotoGP practiceMotoGP Argentina GP: Aleix Espargaro fastest in FP2, Quartararo misses Q2 2023-04-01T10:31:36Z dg43tfdfdgfd