Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo is hoping to ‘bounce back’ as MotoGP prepares for its first race on Indonesian soil for 25 years.
A difficult QatarGP saw the Monster Energy rider cross the line ninth for his first race as defending champion after front tyre pressure disrupted an already challenging opening weekend.
“Was tough because I was expecting much more from Qatar GP,” Quartararo admitted from the Lombok press conference on Thursday. “But it's true that we didn't have this three days testing and at the end we were missing grip. Then at the race we try something and the front pressure from the beginning was wrong so it was quite a difficult race but you always learn about your tough moments. I feel here we were fast on the test, but testing is totally different than racing. So let's see what we can achieve.”
The current MotoGP Champion sat second in the standings as preseason testing drew to a close at Mandalika five weeks ago, so does he feel the Lombok layout suits the M1 better than the desert track?
"I think what suits better is to have shorter straights!” he said with a smile. “Like I said before, testing, I made my time attack in the last minutes of the third day. Pol was already in the box, he made it in the morning, was much more, let's say difficult I felt but let's see. We will have all the Friday, Saturday to understand, let's see how is the forecast but whatever issues, I will make my best to be there and fight where we feel we can fight.
“At the end, many things change [since the test]. Mostly the tyres but at the end I felt great, we had three days, we were consistent so of course we have a little bit [prepared], we know already quite well the track after three days but then we don't know what to expect about the race. I think is going to be super important to know which tyres to use from tomorrow already. To work on the race tyre will be so important.”
With no expected upgrades in the pipeline from the Japanese factory, the Frenchman is digging deep with a YZR-M1 that is obviously down on power to his pitlane neighbours.
“The real Yamaha is the one that you see in Qatar,” he continued. “I don't think and I don't hear about something really, really new so this is the real Yamaha. Basically is difficult to understand because from one year to the other you came from victory to P9, so was tough to understand in Qatar. I was frustrated because our pace was not that bad during the practice but didn't make any step during the race. Also the front tyre pressure, so to be honest, was a tough weekend. I feel ready for this weekend and I feel like we need to bounce back and feel our potential in this track.
“They change tyre allocation, new tarmac in some areas of the track. This is why we need to wait and understand how we will go during this GP.
"It’s a casing I think that was from 2018,” he said reflecting on the new Michelin allocation. “So I never ride this casing and will be important to see how it's going for us but we are ready to fight and I will give my 100 per cent always.
“Here we had a good test, I was feeling great on the bike, the pace was good. Of course I feel great on the track but I think would be important to be ready from the beginning and try to see our potential.”