Motorsport News

A two-time MotoGP champion, Bagnaia is somehow underrated

A two-time MotoGP champion, Bagnaia is somehow underrated

Pecco Bagnaia isn’t the type of character to demand your attention, but he deserves it. He certainly deserves a bit more respect from the MotoGP paddock that he has come to dominate over the past three-plus seasons.

The 27-year-old Italian is the two-time defending world champion. He has claimed 22 wins since the start of the 2021 season — more than the next three most successful riders in the class combined.

That’s a victory every three grands prix. His win percentage throughout the course of his five-plus-season career is 23%. Of the five multitime world champions of the MotoGP modern era, that ranks third, ahead of arguably the greatest of all time in Valentino Rossi — who just so happens to be Bagnaia’s mentor — and trailing only Casey Stoner and Marc Márquez.

And yet, tune into a race, dial up a podcast or strike up a conversation with a fan, and it’s not Bagnaia you’ll hear about. It’s Márquez. Or Jorge Martín.

Márquez is a six-time champion of MotoGP, emerging from a hellish four seasons in which his career was nearly ended by an arm injury and Honda’s once-great RC213V became the slowest bike of the field. Now that he’s aboard a Ducati Desmosedici — the very bike Bagnaia has principally developed — he has returned to competitiveness in 2024. It was Martín’s title challenge that pushed Bagnaia all the way to the season finale in 2023, and it’s Martín who currently leads the world championship standings.

Márquez and Martín are competitors who are willing to risk everything for the glory of victory, but Bagnaia is seen as having a more measured approach. It has created a perception that Márquez and Martín are peerless talents — in Márquez’s case, a generational talent, in the conversation about the greatest of all time — while Bagnaia is something less than that.

“In my opinion, we have to define what talent means,” Bagnaia’s crew chief, Cristian Gabarrini, told ESPN earlier this season. “If talent is entering every corner as if you want to die, this is the definition of talent that I don’t agree with.

“Talent is a mixture of many, many things altogether. One is to be a little bit brave, because if you are not, you cannot be competitive in this sport. But talent is also being able to manage a tire, being able to…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at – RPM…