Bastianini put in an impressive performance in front of his home crowd at Mugello on Sunday, making two key overtakes in a race that featured little action to complete a 1-2 result for Ducati.

The 26-year-old first cleared the Gresini bike of Marc Marquez with two laps to go going into Scarperia, before catching championship leader Jorge Martin by a surprise with an impressive pass into the final corner on the last tour.

The result marked his first visit to the podium since the Americas GP in April and came at the end of a week in which it became clear beyond any doubt that he will be losing his seat at Ducati, with Martin now emerging as the favourite to take the vacant spot next year.

Bastianini said he rode like ‘never before’ in the closing stages of the race, having been spurred on by Marquez briefly snatching the final podium spot from him on lap 18 of 23.

“[It] feeels so special because I come from a difficult moment, it happened during this whole past week,” he said, referring to the media attention about the second factory ride at Ducati.

“But this week we had a result in mind and from yesterday I improved and I was fast. Today I was really motivated to do something more for me but also for all the people here. 

“I slept a little bit during the half part of the race but when Marc overtook me I closed my mind and said that ‘no, it’s not correct. No. This is my podium.’ 

“I came back. I am riding like never [before]. It was good. Also the last lap I overtake Jorge and it was too dangerous but at the end I can be happy.”

Bastianini’s two-year contract comes to a conclusion at the end of the season, with the Italian having been unable to build on the race-winning form he showed at Gresini in 2022 prior to his factory promotion.

His future beyond 2024 remains unclear, with Aprilia seen as a possible destination for the Italian should he not be accommodated elsewhere in a Ducati satellite team.

Asked if he made a statement with the speed he showed at Mugello, the five-time grand prix winner said: “Future, future, future. 

“Well, I want to think about the present because we think a lot about the future but I want to enjoy this day, because it has been really difficult this period. 

“I committed some mistakes, also the team has committed some mistakes.

“Today is a really beautiful day. Usually, I’m not really happy about second place but today I’m really happy and I don’t want to think about the future.”

Bagnaia explains race start strategy

As with Saturday’s sprint, the key to Bagnaia’s win was his brilliant getaway at the start, only this time he had to come from fifth on the grid due to a penalty carried forward from Friday practice.

Bagnaia said he took inspiration from KTM rider Jack Miller’s 2023 start and kept his bike on the left into Turn 1, which gave him the inside line into the following left-hander.

Within two corners, he was already up in the lead and was never headed for the rest of the race, despite Martin getting too close for comfort with three laps to run.

“For me it’s not a matter of risk, it’s more a matter of being in a good position possible in the correct moment,” he explained.

“I decided to go on the outside because last year I remember Miller at the start overtook me. So [this year] I just remained on the outside to be on the inside in corner two. So I just tried to do the same. 

“But Maverick [Vinales] had braked very hard and my strategy was almost ruined. But as soon as I saw that he was going wide I just tried to cross his line. It was the best decision. 

“And after that I saw that Jorge didn’t approach the exit of corner 1 strongly so I just tried to take an advantage to overtake him in corner two.”

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