Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia was at a complete loss to explain his crash in the German Grand Prix – but said it showed MotoGP rival Fabio Quartararo was simply “more complete”.
Bagnaia was running behind Quartararo at the start of the fourth lap when he lost the rear of his bike exiting the first corner, left standing over the wrecked Desmosedici in complete shock and exasperation as the crash visibly confounded him.
His Ducati team-mate Jack Miller backed Bagnaia post-race by saying he’d done “nothing wrong” and was simply unlucky in the treacherous low-grip conditions of the start, which had also caught out the likes of Joan Mir, Darryn Binder and Takaaki Nakagami.
But while Bagnaia was himself bewildered, he did not so much absolve himself of blame as lament the fact he couldn’t understand the crash.
“I’m… trying to re-live, I don’t know, repeat in my mind, what happened. And in any of that I can’t explain my crash,” he said afterwards.
“For sure, if I crashed, it’s because I did a mistake. For sure. But in this situation it’s very difficult to know why, to understand why, looking at the data, it’s impossible to understand things.
“I can’t explain it. I’m very angry for that. Because when you crash and you know why it’s your mistake, normally I’m very self-critical. But today I can’t be.
“Because the reason why I crashed is something that I can’t imagine. It’s more difficult to understand, it’s more difficult to accept.
“The only positive thing is that again we were on the top, we were the fastest… and I think also looking at the pace, our potential was high. But… this is one more time that Fabio is demonstrating that Fabio is more complete than me.”
Asked to expand on what aspect Quartararo was more complete in, Bagnaia quipped: “Finishing races. Because he’s always on top.
“He never does a mistake. For sure maybe his bike helps him to have fewer mistakes. I don’t know. If I’m looking at his bike and the combination of them [Quartararo and his Yamaha], it’s that they are strong on the time attack, strong on the pace, strong on the race, he’s more complete for that.
“I have four zeroes [non-scores] this year. This weekend I was competitive, I was faster than him – but he won and I crashed.”
MotoGP.com analyst Simon Crafar suggested while watching the crash that it had been caused by the combination of low grip and Bagnaia potentially carrying slightly too much speed into the corner, which changed the way he exited.
Bagnaia himself was insistent that he was not pushing at that point, and that his plan – after a failed second-lap lunge to take the lead from Quartararo – was “to let Fabio go” and prepare a counter-attack in the second half of the race.
“I did 70 laps by day, every day, more than 70 laps. In none of them, I felt a close thing like this. Never happened in my life to crash like this. Just at the ranch [owned by mentor Valentino Rossi]. But at the ranch I’m on the enduro track, so it’s easy to have it [that kind of crash].
“It’s very difficult to know why. My lean angle was the same. The speed was the same. I was more turned for the exit. It’s very difficult to understand why I crashed.
“It’s the most difficult thing about this moment. Because maybe our bikes, all the bikes now, are living in a margin like this and if you go wide you crash. But today my crash is very, very on the limit, I think.”
A pre-season favourite, Bagnaia ended the German GP 91 points off Quartararo.