Interview: Pecco Bagnaia's Crew Chief Cristian Gabarrini On Bagnaia's Turnaround, Sprint Races, Ride-Height Devices, And Rider Feedback
Cristian Gabarrini (right) celebrating with Pecco Bagnaia after winning the Dutch TT at Assen in 2022
It is hard to overstate just how big the turnaround of Pecco Bagnaia's season was in 2022. Going into the Dutch TT at Assen, Bagnaia trailed championship leader Fabio Quartararo by 91 points. Ten races later, Bagnaia clinched the championship at Valencia with an advantage of 17 points. The Italian had clawed back 108 points in ten races, an average of nearly 11 points a race.
The man who helped Bagnaia achieve that incredible comeback has experience winning world championships. Ducati Lenovo Team crew chief Cristian Gabarrini already had two MotoGP titles under his belt with Casey Stoner, first at Ducati, then at Honda. He oversaw Marc Márquez' first championship in 2013, as technical advisor in the Repsol Honda team, before returning to Ducati.
He is a quiet, modest man, softly spoken, who weighs his words carefully. That meticulousness is also apparent in his work as a crew chief: Pecco Bagnaia's garage is well organized and well run, the bike always ready for Bagnaia when he needs it. He is thoughtful, his responses to questions revealing a very sharp intellect indeed.
At Sepang, I had a long and very in-depth interview with Cristian Gabarrini. We spoke about the pressure of defending a championship, how sprint races will change MotoGP this season, how Pecco Bagnaia turned his season around, and the change Gabarrini saw in the Italian.