heir to Valentino Rossi, miraculous… Three things to know about Francesco Bagnaia, now double world champion

The Italian from Ducati won his second consecutive MotoGP world champion title on Sunday, thanks to his victory in the last Grand Prix of the season in Valencia.

France Télévisions – Sports Editorial


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Francesco Bagnaia celebrates his second MotoGP world champion title, Sunday November 26, 2023 in Valencia (Spain).  (MAXPPP)

The ascent in 2021, then the title in 2022 and confirmation in 2023. After fighting for the world title against Fabio Quartararo two years ago, Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia (Ducati) was crowned world champion for the second time in a row, Sunday November 26, at the end of the Valencia Grand Prix (Spain). The Italian, closely followed by Jorge Martin (Ducati Pramac), was more consistent and less nervous than his Spanish competitor to win the drivers’ ranking.

Heir of Valentino Rossi

Francesco Bagnaia follows in the footsteps of his illustrious Italian predecessor in MotoGP. After his MiniGP title in 2009, when he was 12 years old, “Pecco” joined the VR46 Academy, a group of drivers created by Valentino Rossi who train and progress together on the “Doctor” ranch.

This work paid off, since by winning his first world champion title last season, Bagnaia ended the wait for Italy, who had not had a world champion since Rossi’s last coronation in 2009. And with his second world title, obtained on Sunday, he becomes only the third rider to remain in place since the creation of the MotoGP category in 2002 to replace the 500 cc, after Marc Marquez and… Valentino Rossi.

Fabio Quartararo’s competitor in 2021

Promoted to MotoGP in 2019 after his Moto2 champion title the previous season, Francesco Bagnaia won his first race at the Aragon Grand Prix in 2021, a year in which he even fought for the world title. The Italian held his own against Fabio Quartararo for a long time, but a fall at home in Misano put an end to his hopes of being crowned world champion. A disappointment which did not prevent him from winning the last two Grands Prix of the season, at Portimao (Portugal) and Valencia (Spain), and finishing 26 points behind the Frenchman in the drivers’ standings.

Miraculous after a fall this season

Favorite after his title in 2022, Francesco Bagnaia got off to a pretty bad start to the 2023 season. After a victory in Portugal, he fell twice alone in Argentina and the United States, losing precious points in the drivers’ standings. But with his character impervious to pressure, the Italian raised his head to demonstrate impeccable consistency, with 14 podiums out of the 15 Grands Prix he completed.

He was also able to count on his lucky star, since he miraculously emerged unscathed from a serious accident which could have cost him his first place in the championship. During the Catalan Grand Prix in September, Bagnaia crashed and South African Brad Binder (KTM) was unable to avoid him and ran over his legs. Only the victim of major bruises, he was able to get back on his motorcycle a few days later in San Marino.

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