Perugia rider pegs Valentino Rossi on the second row for Japan Grand Prix
Pecco Bagnaia, 23, is a Sardinian who began his MotoGP career in 2010 and has enjoyed successes at the Catalan GP and Catalunya GP to date.
He was the 2014 and 2015 Moto2 Rookie of the Year and has risen to sixth in the MotoGP championship overall.
Schenectady Times Union: “What makes Pecco Bagnaia such a great talent? If I had to summarize one word, it would be ‘nerve.’ He has every attribute imaginable on a bike, and he shows it in ways that only the most complete of riders can. As a rider, he is as talented as a lot of the paddock’s other great talents. However, the way in which he brings those talents to the table is the unique thing he possesses. It’s not just that he is fast; it’s that he goes about it with the most remarkable level of confidence and poise. He always seems to be speaking his mind, either in a solid, direct and off-hand way, or perhaps with a barely restrained, temper tantrum-type temper. His lack of restraint, along with his laid-back style of riding, makes him exactly what the championship needs right now.”
Sportspress: “When Mr Bagnaia put on his Yamaha during qualifying for the 2017 MotoGP Italian Grand Prix at Marco Simoncelli’s home circuit, it seemed like a moment of rarefied enlightenment. After an underwhelming outing in 2015, these were all things he felt that he had learned. The more he immersed himself into the culture of MotoGP, the more his feelings for it changed. He put this in place in a way that does not happen with many other riders. He wears the passion for his sport like a badge of honour and is rewarded for it. Being an Italian, he carries the might and prestige of Italy in his chest and stirs a group of journalists around him from all corners of the world to watch him in action. His stance on the Italian Grand Prix is even more special. It is unlike any position in motorcycling, where only a few riders aspire to attain in a career where the course to ultimate success is mostly set for them by history and tradition. When the five-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi drives up the famous Cerachofii steps in front of his home fans to collect the trophy on Sunday, there is only one other rider from Italy who can say the same.
In the closing moments of the Italian Grand Prix, Mr Bagnaia deliberately threw himself into the crowd, stopping briefly to take pictures of the race with the snapper. He quickly reunited with Valentino Rossi at the front of the paddock to pose for a couple of photos. Perhaps Mr Bagnaia’s frequent actions display more intensity than on a surface level; he says the exchange with Mr Rossi is priceless because when he rides with the Italian, that is something he wants to maintain, never knowing how quickly the relationship is going to change again. That absence of aggression on the track helps Mr Bagnaia be remembered with respect.”
Japan Grand Prix, Saturday, 2pm