Pedro Acosta says he picked up a few handy tips while taking on the best in defending MotoGP World Champion Pecco Bagnaia en route to claiming a stellar maiden podium in the premier class in the Portuguese MotoGP.

The Spaniard once again demonstrated why he is regarded as a future MotoGP World Champion with a gutsy performance in Sunday’s full-length race that saw him out-perform KTM Factory Racing stablemates Brad Binder and Jack Miller.

Though his cause was aided by a trio of late DNFs ahead of him, lifting him from sixth to third, it came in an encounter that saw him run as high as the podium positions during the race amid a spirited tussle with Bagnaia.

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Briefly getting the better of the Italian, though Acosta would drift down the order as the race wore on – before then rebounding in the wake of retirements for Maverick Vinales, Bagnaia and Marc Marquez – he reveals he got some useful ideas from the factory Ducati rider during their battle.

“In the end, I was carrying speed and this situation is quite normal for me,” he said. “Full tank and many laps; right now the sprint race is [harder].

“I’m not fully comfortable in this situation because you see these guys going wide open from the beginning and not caring about anything. 

“But anyway, I was super comfortable with the bike in both races, also in Qatar to make overtakes.

“It’s so familiar this feeling from Moto2 and Moto3. I was not focusing just on the top five, I was just focused on understanding the race and how I was needing to save the tyre.

“In Qatar we saw that I struggled a lot in the end of the race. I was trying to copy Pecco’s movements on the bike because he is one of the best at saving the tyres on Sunday races. For this, I’m happy because I could learn many things behind him.

“Well I was just thinking to pass them. I didn’t have enough time to think. To be honest, I was learning a lot from Pecco on how he was moving his body and how he was playing with the angle of the bike.”

Having already impressed with his rapid pace during pre-season testing, Acosta was delighted to be back on a grand prix podium so quickly, three years on from clinching his first World Championship title at Portimao in Moto3.

“Super happy,” he said. “It was a challenging weekend for us, a new track for us on a MotoGP bike. On Friday I was quite far from the top but they [the Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing Tech3 team] are making the way easier, I’m super happy.”