Bagnaia wary of Marquez threat
By Kyle White
Sunday 16th April, 2023 - 11:40am
Grand Prix of the Americas Sprint race winner Francesco Bagnaia is wary of the threat posed by Alex Marquez in Sunday’s main race as he bids for a double in Texas.
Pole man Bagnaia took the lead from surprise package Alex Rins (LCR Honda) on the first lap and led all the way to win his second Sprint race of the season by 2.5s.
Rins held on for second place ahead of Jorge Martin, who produced a battling ride from 12th on the grid to reach the podium on the Pramac Ducati.
However, factory Ducati rider Bagnaia rates Marquez as a chief danger in the main race.
The Gresini Ducati rider, who crashed out of fifth place, has shown strong pace in Texas and heads up the second row after qualifying fourth fastest.
“My pace was good this morning, so I saw that my pace was higher than the rest, apart from Alex Marquez,” said Bagnaia.
“But I don’t know what happened to Alex, maybe he crashed? I was expecting this kind of pace but tomorrow will be different because you have to control more, you have to manage more.
“Maybe if the conditions will be a bit colder it will be easier to manage the tyres, but let’s see.
“I think [Alex] Rins is fast enough, Jorge [Martin] did an incredible comeback and also Alex Marquez is fast.
“Aleix [Espargaro] did also a good job so he is competitive, but it depends how many laps you can manage with the rear tyre.”
Bagnaia’s victory was the perfect response after the Italian threw away second place in his previous race in Argentina after making an unforced error at Termas de Rio Hondo.
The 26-year-old is now one point behind VR46 Ducati’s Marco Bezzecchi in the championship standings with the main race still to come at Round 3.
“I’m very happy, we worked perfectly,” he said.
“My pace was good enough to open a gap to remain in control.
“Sincerely, I’m very happy because we worked so well during all the weekend and from the start of the season, apart [from] the crash in Argentina.
“We started well, we managed well the tyres and in the last laps I was quite in control, so I am happy for that.
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