The Portuguese GP held at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve last Sunday, April 24, 2022, was nothing short of exciting. Weather conditions during qualifying caused several crashes, as a lot of riders opted for slick tires despite there still being wet patches of tarmac. One of the casualties was Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia, who suffered a nasty high side resulting in a right shoulder injury.
This left people wondering whether or not the Italian racer would compete in the Portuguese GP at all—nonetheless, this would result in precious championship points for Pecco being washed down the drain. Thankfully, Bagnaia was given the green light to participate in the race after receiving clearance from FIM medical staff. He did, however, have no choice but to start from the last position in the grid.
At this point, it would have been understandable, given his physical condition, for Pecco to have taken it easy during the race. However, the Italian pushed with all his might, fighting through the pain, and eventually finishing the race in eighth place. This remarkable result scored him some pretty important points, and even made him climb the standings to tenth place with 31 points—38 points away from top dog Fabio Quartararo.
In an article by Total Motorcycle, Bagnaia explains how he was able to overcome the monumental challenge, “Our goal today was to finish eighth, and we did it, so we can be happy. It wasn’t easy, but my team and the Clinica Mobile did a great job, putting me in a position to race. I tried to stay calm at the start, but it wasn’t easy. Then, fortunately, I was able to find my pace and my feeling with the bike was incredible even though we had little time to test it in the dry. I’m satisfied with the result, and now I’ll try to rest and recover as much as possible ahead of Jerez.”
It was a weekend of mixed emotions for Ducati as despite the stellar performance of Bagnaia, as well as the second place finish by Ducati Pramac Racing Team rider Johann Zarco, Jack Miller didn’t fare so well. The Australian rider was in for a strong start, starting fourth in the grid. After a long, heated battle with French Suzuki rider Joan Mir, Miller lost the front tire trying to overtake the Frenchman, causing him to lowside and take Mir out with him.
The Australian rider explained how the situation came to be saying, “I had a good pace, and my feeling was improving lap by lap. When the others started to suffer, I felt I had more than them: I caught Mir, and when I thought I was close enough, I tried to pass him on the inside. I touched the brake a little, and maybe I ended up on a wet patch (still present at Turn 1) and crashed, bringing him down too. I am sorry, and I apologise to him and my team. We’ll try again next week at Jerez”.