Former MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo has claimed that rival Francesco Bagnaia’s dominance is akin to that of F1 superstar Max Verstappen after the Italian extended his championship lead with yet another victory at the recent Austrian Grand Prix.
Verstappen has been unstoppable at the front of the field in F1 this season, winning ten of the 12 Grands Prix and stretching out an impressive 125-point lead over team-mate and nearest championship rival, Sergio Perez.
‘Pecco’ Bagnaia, meanwhile, has been similarly unmatched in MotoGP. The Italian rider has been at one with his Ducati machinery, taking nine of the 20 possible victories as he heads towards another championship triumph.
After the Austrian GP, Quartararo was asked whether or not anyone can stop Bagnaia from claiming back-to-back championships. He replied: “No. I think he’s a little bit ‘Verstappen’ now. I think also like the previous years, he has the best bike, yes – but you can have the best bike and not do the results. It’s a combination.
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“And it looks like now the combination [Bagnaia] has with the bike, the confidence he has with the bike – when you are winning, winning, winning, you feel that you are unstoppable. And this is the feeling he has now.
“He looks easy on the bike, he knows how to use the bike. So right now, I don’t see anyone who can really be faster than him.”
Quartararo is right to be impressed by Bagnaia. The Frenchman enjoyed a similarly dominant season when he claimed his first MotoGP title in 2021, winning five of the first 12 races to give his Italian rival too much to do in the second half of the year.
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Unfortunately for Quartararo, Bagnaia stepped up his game in the aftermath of his P2 championship finish in 2021, winning his maiden title last season with help from a four-race winning streak in the middle section of the campaign.
In 2023 it has been an even more dominant showing from Pecco. The 26-year-old already has nine wins under his belt and a mammoth 62-point lead at the top of the standings. His nearest rivals, Jorge Martin and Marco Bezzecchi, each have just three wins to their name in comparison.
Meanwhile, in F1, Verstappen has no realistic challengers. The form of Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc suggests that in evenly-matched machinery a title fight would be feasible, but as long as Red Bull continue to dominate, the Dutchman will topple record after record.
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