MotoGP ace MotoGP star Pirogi Bagnaia is the rising Italian star they are counting on to challenge current world champion Marc Marquez. The 23-year-old, now a full time MotoGP rider, was already a huge star in his country and had never scored more than two points in his career.
In 2016, however, he took it to another level by clocking a qualifying time so rapid, it was compared to the time Marquez posted for the first few laps of the Valencia MotoGP. In July 2017 at Le Mans, he started from the second row and qualified 14th, but quickly climbed the grid to finish third behind Marquez and local hero Johann Zarco, the Frenchman who was driving for Anja in the French MotoGP at the time.
Not only did he finish third, he got his first MotoGP podium finish, his maiden podium podium finish in any motorcycle race on dirt or asphalt at Le Mans, two-wheel or four-wheel. Even after two years with the Yamaha Factory Team in MotoGP, on the Marlboro-Nippon Racing machine, he continued to climb up the ladder by landing the best result by an Italian with his third place finish in 2017.
He continued his podium streak by crossing the line fourth in the 2017 Italian MotoGP at Misano, joining a remarkable list of Italian riders who have achieved the same result over the last 70 years.
He has since continued with his bid for the podium, notching three fourth-place finishes at the 2017 TT Harelbeke, then a first podium in Japan by starting fifth and finishing second at the 2018 race in Fuji, but he has yet to manage a third-place finish.
He always races with a high-level heart, balancing big ambition with his raw ability and perseverance in a sport that is often unpredictable and particularly prone to shifting fortunes. In an interview with Michele Phillipi, Bagnaia went into the how he developed a high-level heart for a motorcycle racer that has also helped him to overcome challenges.