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Bagnaia looks to bounce back at Japan MotoGP

Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia said Thursday he was confident of bouncing back at this weekend’s MotoGP in Japan after crashing out of the last race in India.

The slip allowed Spaniard Jorge Martin of Ducati satellite team Pramac to cut Bagnaia’s lead at the top of the table to just 13 points with seven races still to go.

Martin won the sprint race and finished second in Greater Noida behind Italy’s Marco Bezzecchi who won India’s inaugural MotoGP on his Ducati-VR46 at a steamy Buddh International Circuit.

Bagnaia started third on the grid but the defending champion lost control of his Ducati on a turn on lap 13 of 21 and went for a somersault.

“The maximum objective will be to find again my feeling on the braking. And then let’s see. I’m quite sure and confident that we will do it,” the Italian told reporters at Motegi where 37 points will be up for grabs.

“My feeling is that I am braking the same, but I’m not stopping the bike. So it’s quite difficult because the rear is not helping me any more on the braking,” the 26-year-old said.

“We are working for it and I’m sure 100 percent tomorrow morning it will be okay.”

The crash in India wasn’t his first of the season, having come off at high speed at the Catalunya MotoGP at the start of the month in a pile-up that also injured Bezzecchi.

This left Bagnaia riding in pain at San Marino the following week but on painkillers, he managed third place in one of the best rides of his career.

Martin, nicknamed the “Martinator”, said meanwhile he was feeling “super-strong”.

“I have a lot of confidence coming into this race because I feel like now I have the best package I can have with my bike. I feel super-strong,” he told reporters.

“The last two times I was on the podium here so I am confident,” the 25-year-old said.

“I need to enjoy the moment. I feel that this is the best moment of my career. So (I am trying to) just enjoy that, trying to win races, trying to be in front.”

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