Bagnaia reveals his braking tricks


 The Ducati rider talks about brake use in MotoGP and the differences from the lower categories


When we talk about the riders in the World Championship, we know what their hobbies are, how they like to dress, and their taste in music. However, we know almost nothing about their riding styles, how each differs from the others, and their component material preferences. 

To overcome this shortcoming, we are launching a new feature through which we will ask a few of the most important riders in the world 10 questions to investigate their relationship with brakes and braking.


The first candidate is Francesco (Pecco) Bagnaia, 25 years old, Factory Ducati rider in MotoGP. Despite being quite young, he has already competed in 160 GP races, winning 16, and he was Moto2 world champion in 2018 and runner-up MotoGP champion in 2021.​



1) In 2019 he left Moto2 and moved up to MotoGP. How was the switch from one brake to the other? 

“The first laps I did were shocking because the transition from steel to carbon is enormous. It took me a while to get used to it, but I never had that locking effect that I’ve seen other riders suffer through. In any case, it’s a question of habit. For example, now I struggle riding bikes without carbon discs.” 

2) How would you define your braking? 

“First of all, you have to understand that every braking section can be divided up into three stages: the first is braking with the bike going straight, then there’s the entry stage, and then the exit stage as you release the brakes. Of the Ducati riders, I think I am one of the best in braking on the straight and that allows me to take speed into the corner.” 

3) What does this move involve? 

“You have to place a lot of energy on the front tire, with the risk of wheel lock, but you have to deal with that in order to brake really hard.”



4) What is your experience with the rear brake? 

“When I raced in Moto2 I never used the rear brake. Probably because of the frame or maybe due to something else, when you touched the rear brake it created a lot of complications in terms of the ride. Besides, that bike (editor’s note: it was a Honda 600 engine) already had a lot of engine braking on its own, so there was already a lot of drifting going on.” 

5) And in MotoGP? 

“From the very start I felt the need to use the rear brake - and a lot. On left-handers I use my foot, on right-handers I use my thumb. It’s a balance that I found because on right-handers, because of my riding position, I’m unable to use the pedal. I’d like to because you apply greater pressure, but on the other hand, the thumb is extremely helpful and I’m able to be more stable, whereas with the foot there are more vibrations.” ​


6) Do you only use it in braking? 

“No, I also use it coming out of turns as wheelie control. Both Jack Miller and I prefer using very little traction control, so it’s all much more manual.” 

7) What else can you tell us about your teammate’s style? 

“Jack uses the rear brake a lot, like Casey Stoner did, and he is very good at it. I like the way he manages to turn the bike. In the final stage going into the corner he hits it really hard and he makes it turn. He has incredible control. I do that operation from the start of the braking section, making the bike drift. It’s two different ways of doing it.” 

8) Is there specific training for braking? 

“No, there are no methods to train for the explosive quality required in braking. It’s just a question of habit. The only think you can do is ride. I train a lot with the Panigale V4S and it also has a very high-performance Brembo system. The discs aren’t carbon but I try to use them as if they were, so I brake as far forward as possible and place the braking system under stress.”



9) What do you do to have your brakes ready when you go out on the track? 

“The goal is to get them up to temperature already throughout the pit lane. Then you get to the first braking section and you really get them warmed up there. This generally helps you to do the entire​ lap without any problems. Before the start, in the sighting lap, I try to arrive on the starting grid with the brakes very hot because the first braking section of the race is fundamental.” 

10) What would happen to an amateur rider using carbon discs for the first time? 

“They would go long and end up on the escape lane. I think they would be afraid and it might be frightening for them because if the carbon isn’t brought up to the right temperature it’s unpredictable. It might not brake or it could brake too hard and that would not be a good feeling. Every now and then even I struggle to get them up to temperature, so for an amateur it would really be difficult.”