Misano Adriatico (Italy) (AFP) - Francesco Bagnaia insisted he was not thinking about winning the MotoGP championship despite triumphing at Misano Adriatico on Sunday to claim his fourth straight win and close in on leader Fabio Quartararo.
Ducati rider Bagnaia pipped Enea Bastianini by just 0.034 seconds in a thrilling San Marino Grand Prix victory which moved him above Aleix Espargaro into second and within 30 points of reigning world champion Quartararo, who finished fifth.
But the 25-year-old Italian said after claiming the honours he would only start thinking about snatching the crown from Yamaha's Quartararo "when I am 10 or five points away".
"I've already made too many mistakes (this season) thinking about the championship.My objective is to now be always competitive, always fast, always in front and try to win," Bagnaia told reporters.
"I don't want to think about the championship, just to be more focused on my objective and to remain focused on the schedule during the weekend.I prefer to think like that."
Frenchman Quartararo is looking over his shoulder and despite believing he did a "really great job" cut a disconsolate figure after finishing over five seconds behind Bagnaia.
"I would not say I'm worried but I'm also not calm...I'm on the limit, I make a great pace but it's not enough, it's not enough...We arrived really at the limit of our bike today," he told reporters.
"I have the knife up here (the throat)...I can't do anything about it, there is too big a difference in style and power."
Bagnaia battles Bastianini
Bagnaia's victory was all the more impressive for him being forced to start from fifth after a three-place grid penalty imposed during practice on Friday.
"In the last laps I was trying to push the gap but Enea was too fast," a delighted Bagnaia said after race.
"I'm very happy to win today, it wasn't the best start from P5 but I did it."
After taking the lead on lap three Bagnaia held off first Maverick Vinales and then Bastianini to claim his sixth win from the 14 GPs completed in the 20-race season.
Bastianini will be Bagnaia's teammate on the factory Ducati bike next season and he showed why he is moving up from the satellite Gresini team.
The 24-year-old, who had started second on the grid, pushed past Vinales and behind Bagnaia on lap 20 and then piled the pressure on his compatriot.
The pair were practically wheel-to-wheel for the final few laps and after trying to overtake with only a few turns remaining crossed the line almost alongside Bagnaia.
"The last lap I tried with everything I could to overtake Pecco (Bagnaia) but he was too good," Bastianini told Sky Sport Italia.
"It was a fantastic race, I think it would have been difficult to do any better."
Miller goes down
Bagnaia's teammate Jack Miller had started on pole for the second time in his MotoGP career but was one of five riders to crash in a chaotic opening to the race.
Johann Zarco, Michele Pirro and Pol Espargaro all crashed out on the very first corner, while Miller and Marco Bezzechi went down a lap later.
Alonso Lopez became the first non-Kalex rider to win a Moto2 race since 2019 with his first ever GP triumph.
The Boscoscuro rider, who started the day 12th in the championship, finished ahead of Spaniards Aron Canet and Augusto Fernandez who snatched the overall lead from Japan's Ai Ogura by four points.
"It was incredible, I don't have any words to explain it," said Lopez.
In Moto3 Dennis Foggia made it three Misano wins in a row when he pipped Jaume Masia to close the gap between him and new championship leader Izan Guevara to 35 points.
Foggia is the first rider to complete the Moto3 hat-trick at the track and is 24 points behind Guevara's fellow Aspar rider Sergio Garcia, who dropped down to second in the standings after being disqualified from the race for irresponsible riding.