Monster Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo claimed his fourth victory in factory colours at the Dutch GP after dominating the Assen race from the fifth lap.
While continuing to suffer with the M1’s lack of top-speed, the Frenchman overcame overtaking difficulties to free himself from the clutches of Ducati’s Pecco Bagnaia, breaking free of the pack in the opening laps before extending his lead to four-seconds by the second half of the 26-lap contest. A late-race comeback from teammate Maverick Viñales saw him cross the line 2.7s ahead of the second Monster rider for a Yamaha one-two.
“To be honest, it was a tough one,” Quartararo said as the celebrations concluded.
“When I had Pecco in front, is impossible to overtake for me. I have no words to say what is the possibility to overtake. He was already closing the lines and with the power out of turn six, he is so fast. I tried many times out of 12, I hit a little bit on the outside of his bike and then I see that I had the potential to go inside of 12. I never expect to overtake there but finally it was the perfect spot,” he explained further.
“A really tough one because I made two big mistakes. One out of 12, the bike was shaking until turn 15, and one on turn six where I go to much lean angle on the line and almost lose the rear, but the most important is the position we finished today and we bring 25 points home.”
In the Frenchman’s Parc Fermé interview he described suffering pain with his right arm, with concern that his arm pump issues had returned despite surgery in early May.
“No, it's not arm pump,” he confirmed.
“Is more the back of the triceps, but in this track is quite typical from the change of direction, is quite heavy and painful but was okay at the end when I saw that I had four-seconds with Pecco and then with Maverick. Maverick was really fast at one stage so I pull a little bit faster at the end - when I made some 33 low’s and a few 32's. That was the correct moment to push a little bit more but I'm so happy. Was a tough race but like I said, for me today was a clear goal to fight for the victory and we achieve it today.”
Quartararo’s season seems to be going from strength to strength, with Viñales suffering opposing fortunes on the other side of the Monster Energy garage. The 22-year-old, however, seemed to be subtly trolling his more experienced colleague as he reflected on his rollercoaster start with the Yamaha firm.
“It’s not easy, but at the end we can maintain the pace, some races less, some races more but the pace is there and I feel strong. For me, last year was not the best season because was one of the years that I was really up and down and not consistent but I've learned a lot. For me, this is always great, to learn when you have not the result, you can always take something. Last year I didn't take the result, I didn't take the opportunity at the end of the season to fight for the championship, but I take this experience and I think it was worth it. So right now I'm feeling much better mentally in the box, on the bike and I have a much more clear mind and clear goals.
“To be honest I had no pressure from the team in the beginning of the year, but more pressure from the outside. Even if I tried to don't hear, you do - like 'you're having the place of the king', of Vale. Constantly you always have these kinds of small pressures, even the comments from the media - 'you need to do well, you have an important spot on the team'. The victory in Qatar I was just so happy because since this moment, I didn't hear any more these rumours, but in myself I expected to do well. When I won in Portimao, was something that was really important for my mind because 2020 was disaster, and this year was amazing. For sure was also in 2020 that I was really not concentrating because I knew I lost the championship, and this year was the beginning of the season but was a clear moment in my mind and for the beginning of the season. I expect to do a good start, but not as good as this one!
“Maverick had the super pace [this weekend]. For us is difficult to overtake but Maverick all the weekend he was super fast. I just feel good and make the perfect start. I'm on a really good moment in my career. I have the extra confidence that every time I'm on the bike, I feel better. Coming from Sachsenring, that was a tough one and when you start here you feel that the bike is working already better. I don't feel like it's only myself that can make a mistake [to win or lose the championship], Joan [Mir] is super fast, the Ducatis are super fast, so I don't see really that it is just myself that can make a mistake, I'm just feeling super good and super confident, and it means that I'm fast and I want to keep this mood until the last race of the season.
“The championship is wide open. For me, everyone is fast, so I don't want to make a mistake but there is many people, I don't really see clearly one. The most important right now is I want to focus on myself - this is what I did since Qatar - so I just tried to take out the best of myself in every race, and if one guy finish in front, two guys, three guys, I know that I gave my maximum and I think this is the best way. I'm just looking race by race. Of course now we have a good advantage on the championship but we need for the second part of the season, we need to start exactly the same as we started the first race in Qatar. This is the main thing for me, to be focused for the second half of the season.”