The championship leader’s points lead has been cut from 27 to 18 by Pramac’s Jorge Martin, after the Spaniard romped to his seventh sprint win of the year as Bagnaia was 4.1 seconds adrift in seventh.
Bagnaia qualified sixth and says he “missed the start”, which dropped him to ninth on the opening lap before being quickly cast adrift of the podium battle.
He moved up to seventh at the end of the fourth tour after Alex Marquez and Zarco went wide at Turn 12 battling each other, but wasn’t then able to advance on this position despite closing to within a tenth of Marco Bezzecchi at the finish.
Bagnaia says he felt strong on his bike, but the “useless” Zarco/Marquez battle cost him too much time and cut him off from the podium group ahead.
“I missed the start a bit, and then I lost a lot of time with Zarco,” Bagnaia said.
“And then with the battle with Johann and Alex Marquez, that in that moment was useless considering the amount of time we had lost.
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team
“They were overtaking like it was the last lap and it was useless. So, when I was able to be in front [of them] I was like 1.6s from Marc Marquez who was in front.
“We managed to close the gap, we managed to control everything perfectly and my feeling was – again – so, so good on my bike.
“I’m happy with the tyre consumption, with everything. But finishing seventh in a moment when you are so fast and strong is not good for us.
“So, we have to consider that and for tomorrow I have to just improve my pace in the first laps to be out of some battles that lost us too much time.”
Bagnaia also pinned his underwhelming qualifying display on his feeling on the two tyres he used being too different and has called for his Ducati team to find “more consistency” in this area.
“For the second time this weekend I didn’t feel well with the tyre,” he added.
“With the front tyre I was pushing, I did 1m30.2s, struggling a lot with everything.
“And then when I put the second one on, I did 1m29.5s. This made our job so much harder because you feel something, you expect something that is not there.
“And as soon as you change it’s another feeling again. So, it’s [the feeling] changing too much and is not helping. We did sixth on the grid, which was not that bad, but we need a bit more consistency on that.”