In the final part of this series, we take a look at VR46 academy rider Francesco Bagnaia who steps up into MotoGP in 2019 with the Pramac Ducati team.
Bagnaia had a successful start to his career being successful in Minimoto and he won the European MiniGP championship in 2009. After the year in 2009, ‘Pecco’ made his preGP 125 Mediterranean championship debut with Monlau Competicion team in 2010 and finished 2nd in the championship.
In 2012 Bagnaia competed in the CEV Junior Championship onboard a Honda NSF250R and finished 3rd in the championship behind Alex Marquez and Luca Amato.
In 2013, Bagnaia was promoted into the Moto3 World Championship with Team Italia FMI partnering Romano Fenati. It was a disappointing season for Pecco as he failed to score a single point in his debut season.
In 2014 Bagnaia and Fenati moved to the all-new Sky VR46 Racing Team and looked more promising compared to his debut season after a strong pre-season and also switching bikes for the season. Bagnaia finished top 10 five times during the first 7 races with a 4th place finish at Le Mans as his best result. Baganaia eventually ended the season in 16th place with 50 points after a dip in form and an injury.
The next 2 seasons Bagnaia rode a Mahindra with the Mapfre and Pull and Bear Aspar team and picked up 1 podium in his first year with the Mahindra. His 2nd season, however, was a different story finishing 4th overall with 2 wins and 6 podiums to his name in 2016.
In 2017 Bagnaia returned to the Sky VR46 team but in the intermediate class as he made his Moto2 debut. Bagnaia’s first of four podiums came at Jerez and ended his debut season in 5th place overall, which was very impressive for the Italian He was also crowned Moto2 Rookie of the year after the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.
Still searching for his first win, Bagnaia remained with the SKY VR46 team and won the opening race in Qatar after a great battle with fellow Italian VR46 rider Lorenzo Baldassarri. After his win under the lights in Losail, Bagnaia stood on the top step of the podium 7 times and 4 times on the remaining 2 podium steps.
That meant that Bagnaia won the title in 2018 with 306 points to his name.
Bagnaia finished every single Moto2 race he participated in, 36 in total. He scored points in 34 of them and is currently on an active 30 race point scoring streak, starting from Barcelona in 2017.
Bagnaia signed for the Pramac Ducati team for 2019.
Bagnaia announced that he was replacing Danilo Petrucci who joins the Mission Winnow Ducati team for 2019.
Bagnaia had his first outing on the Ducati in Valencia and impressed straight away, ending the 2-day test in 11th place, one place above 5x champion Jorge Lorenzo who was getting to grips with his new RC213V.
Bagnaia had his 2nd outing at Jerez finishing as the top rookie (9th) and ahead of 9x World Champion and his boss Valentino Rossi.
Francesco Bagnaia will be back out on track tomorrow in Sepang where he and his Pramac team will aim to understand the new Ducati even further.
Find out how Pecco gets on in 2019, here at NowMoto.
Featured Image Credit: MotoGP