The 23-year-old is best known for getting the better of Casey Stoner in 2012 and 2011
Name Pecco Bagnaia
Born 23 March 1991, Italy
Turned pro 2008, professionally with Triumph (retired 2012)
Pecco Bagnaia’s is the perfect story. A one-time penalty kid known for getting the better of Casey Stoner, he’s a man castigated by some but admired by others. There are more than 50,000 fans descending on Bergamo this weekend for his MotoGP debut and it’s perhaps because he’s become a showman that La Senza have stuck him on the front cover.
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He’s not that well-known in the UK but his record certainly speaks for itself. In 2012 and 2013 he won both the 125cc race at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez and took both 125cc races at Indianapolis. In 2015 he won the Moto3 race at Germany’s Misano. He retained his title that year and is now with Tech 3 Yamaha.
Pecco took up motorcycles at the age of 10 but his trajectory was more classed than norm. He was knocked out twice in 2006 at his first race at Donington Park, knocked down a dozen times in 2007 and knocked out once more in 2008. He’s regarded as one of the best ever paddock talent spotters. A friend helped him see Stoner’s massive improvement at Mugello. It didn’t go unnoticed by him, and he ended up moving to MotoGP. He’s now long been revered in Italy as a rising star of MotoGP. It’s on home soil that his popularity could rise still further.
How he can do it for Suzuki
Pecco Bagnaia (@peccobagnaia) I don’t have any expectations. I just want to give a good race. I want to get some points for Suzuki, for everyone.
Although he usually makes his mark on the outside of the front row he is a man who tends to race straight behind other frontrunners, supporting Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales and Dani Pedrosa. That is likely to change this weekend. The only thing that might stop him is his ride, with Suzuki having shown a lack of confidence in Vinales so far in the season, with the Mexican qualifying seventh on his MotoGP debut in August and choosing to use the third set of tyres after race two.
Is the biggest threat probably Valentino Rossi?
When a starting grid is loaded with new riders, big names who are already at their peak, and there are still five races left it is perhaps the best way to gauge what the current form of each and every rider is. So perhaps the biggest threat is probably Valentino Rossi. He’s the only rider who can deliver a dominant, win-laden performance over the season. Yamaha fans are fed up of his seeming reluctance to put in what is required to win, which has enabled Vinales to overtake him and set the pace in the championship. If Rossi put in some masterly work in Bergamo he might put in one hell of a performance that seals the title for him and for Yamaha.