Bagnaia embracing title fight with Martin

Francesco Bagnaia (pictured) now has only a three-point lead over Jorge Martin in the MotoGP championship. Image:

Francesco Bagnaia (pictured) now has only a three-point lead over Jorge Martin in the MotoGP championship. Image:

Francesco Bagnaia’s MotoGP World Championship lead was slashed to three points by Jorge Martin in Japan, but the reigning champion says he is enjoying his title tussle with the Spaniard.

Bagnaia finished as the runner-up at Motegi behind Martin after the race was declared a result due to worsening weather conditions.

It marked another confidence-boosting victory for Pramac Racing’s Martin, who also claimed pole and won his third successive Sprint race at Round 14 of the championship.

Bagnaia, though, was putting on a brave face after seeing his advantage at the top whittled down to a handful of points as Martin continued to up the ante.

“It was a good one, it was really, really risky,” said Bagnaia.

“In the last two or three laps, the aquaplaning started to be really heavy. We were all with the medium rear so it was a bit risky.

“I was closing the gap to Jorge, then I did a little mistake in braking, close to losing the front, then I was back to regaining time.

“We have to be happy. We know perfectly how risky it is racing on the wet and finishing second is a good result.

“With three points between me and Jorge it’s interesting; I like it because I think it can be a good competition – let’s see in the next races.”

Bagnaia felt his Ducati Team made some positive progress with the factory bike at Motegi after complaining of braking issues at the last few rounds.

“This weekend we did a really good step,” said Bagnaia, who crashed out of second place last weekend in the Indian GP at Buddh.

“Today, we didn’t have a chance to demonstrate this. I think and I feel that we did another step in front.

“I’m happy because this is the first time on wet that I’m on the podium. Unluckily, the situation was too risky to race – the spray behind was too heavy.

“We had the possibility to win but happy with the position; Jorge gained some more points but I’m very happy.”

On Martin’s impressive run of form, Bagnaia admitted the momentum is currently with his chief rival.

“I think that Jorge is in his momentum, but I have to say that this weekend, we improved our situation a lot,” the Italian said.

“This morning I was feeling a bit better also [in warm-up] and I am happy to have a good feeling again on my bike, and it will be interesting for the rest of the season.”

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