more than anything

"I never stopped believing."

When you’re lying 91 points behind in the standings, only folly can keep you clinging on to the dream of a world title. Either that, or a stubborn belief in your work and that of the team. And that is how Pecco Bagnaia reopened a championship that looked to be over, bringing the title home to Borgo Panigale after a long fifteen-year wait.

Pecco, what does it mean to win a world championship? And what does it mean to win it with Ducati?

As an Italian, it’s just everything. I’ve always been a huge Ducati fan too. To win with these colours was my dream ever since I was a child and, as I got older, this dream grew increasingly strong. It is an incredible feeling to have now achieved it, and makes up for all the sacrifices over the years.  

Gigi Dall’Igna has said that you’ve always been a very fast rider but that, this year, you learned to win even when you were not the quickest. What changed?

To be honest, I see the practices as a time to test and experiment, while true potential becomes clear in the race. All year long, we would practice on very used tyres for example. This made us appear slower, but then things were very different in the race. But at Silverstone we really were in difficulty. On a personal level, it felt great to be able to make the difference in that race.

Was that the decisive moment?

It was there that I realised we could do it. We’d struggled over the weekend, and I started the race fifth. Finding myself back up front and able to win the race really spurred me on.

So much so that you made the most incredible comeback in the history of MotoGP. How were you able to do that?

We never gave up. At the start of the year, the bike wasn’t working as we’d expected, and we found ourselves 91 points down. We could have given up, but I wanted anything other than another second place. So we put our heads down, worked really hard and were dynamite in the second part of the season. I never stopped believing in us, and to win despite the difficulties, at the final round of the season, was even better.

The Ducatisti had been waiting a long time for this victory. What was it like to celebrate with them?

They are always there for me. They’re incredibly loyal to the brand and this sometimes means that they’re also very critical. But it is for this reason that I see myself in them. I too am very attached to Ducati and am the first to criticise my own performance. I’m really pleased to have given them the joy of this victory. The scenes of celebration in Borgo Panigale gave me chills.

You and Ducati are now the ones to beat. What does this mean?

Racing as world champion, with the number one on the fairing, definitely feels different. But I’m not worried, quite the opposite in fact. In some ways, a weight was lifted off my shoulders at Valencia, so I’ve honestly never been so psyched up!

Cover Stories

A selection of the most exclusive content from the latest Redline Magazine.

Sign up for Email

Read our privacy policy to learn about data processing

Enter a valid email address
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.