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MotoGP Mugello: Quartararo’s win ‘was for Jason and his family’

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo was back to winning ways at Mugello this afternoon, his first victory since arm pump surgery, after an emotional ItalianGP.

On a day dominated by the news of Jason Dupasquier succumbing to the injuries sustained during Saturday’s Moto3 qualifying, and with the MotoGP race proceeded by a minute’s silence in tribute, the 23-lap race was an even more daunting task than usual.

Launching from pole, Quartararo dug deep as he utilised the M1’s new start device to maintain as much control on the rival Ducati’s alongside as possible, slotting into second behind Pecco Bagnaia. Beginning to put pressure on his adversary, the Frenchman saw the Italian go down at turn nine on the second lap, and was released. A brief battle with Johann Zarco ensued before the Yamaha, once again, won out and didn’t look back.


Building a strong lead, that at one point stretched to over four-seconds, the 22-year-old eventually crossed the line 2.592s clear of the rest of the field, extending his command of the championship to 24 points.

“Today was tough” Quartararo admitted from Parc Ferme “because when you do the minute of silence before the start, the emotion from my side is coming really quick and it’s difficult to stay focused. You can’t prepare [for a day like this], you just go for it and you try to forget but every time you go into turn nine, just one thing is going through your mind.

“When you are on a mission, you want to win, you want to do a great result, I think, step-by-step it’s going away during the race. The worst is when you’re leading and you have some margin to the second guy, it’s there when you start to think about a lot of things and today was Jason. He was a kid, 19-years-old. It’s always tough to lose one of our riders, we are all racing, we know the risk of our sport but when it arrives, this kind of moment, is not easy.

“[The minute silence before the race] is a really tough moment for us but I think that actually is a moment of respect, for the team, for the family, for Jason, and I think that even if it’s tough, we need to do it. It’s not easy, but we hope for no more moments like this before our starts.

“I had a plan [for the race], create a great start - because we know that the device works pretty well. I wanted to push to arrive on lap one, in corner one, in first position. I remember in 2019, when I started from second here and I think I was eighth or ninth in the first corner, so it was amazing to arrive at the first corner in fourth gear and in second position today. I was riding easily behind Pecco, and when I saw him crash, I wanted to try to ride five laps at my maximum but then Johann overtook me. So I said, ‘I need to do aggressive moves,’ first of all to make him lose time and also to open up a gap. I thought, ‘if I can hold on to first going into the first corner, it‘s good’ and that‘s what happened. It was difficult because we knew that the rear tyre was going to have a lot of consumption, but finally we got the win and that one was for Jason and his family.”

Mugello was lining up to be an intense two-rider battle between the Yamaha man and Bagnaia before the Ducati crashed out of the lead on only the second lap.

“Honestly, the wind was pushing so strong in that corner, and pushing you wide” Quartararo reflected. “Actually in the Safety Commission, a lot of riders saw that the curb on the outside is a little bit lower than the line, so when you want to come back, the wheel needs to make something a bit strange, like a small step, and he lost the front. Normally nobody is going to the curb in that corner, he went a little bit wide with the wind, and make a mistake but, yes, it’s a shame for him.”

‘El Diablo’ has been showing obvious confidence with his new factory team and M1 machine in recent races, with the new launch device providing another element to strengthen an already strong package, despite the clear speed deficit to Ducati, and this week, KTM.

“I think we have a complete package” he explained “and I think that, okay, the top speed is not the best but we have won at two tracks that actually everyone said are Ducati’s. I truly think no one expected to have one Yamaha, one Suzuki and one KTM on the podium today. What we were missing was the front device because our start was terrible and we’ve improved a lot. So I think that for one lap, first of all the top speed is not so important and I think for the race, I take the confidence that even if we don’t have the top speed, we try to manage without but our bike is going extremely good.


“I have a really good feeling on the front. At the end there is not many, many tracks where there is a long straight, we will see in Barcelona, because last year was also really good there.

“I’ve learnt a lot from last year - when you start by winning the first two races, you feel different. I’d never led a championship in my life apart from CEV Championship. You are there and you are first in MotoGP, you say ‘what is happening?’ There were wins, crashes, P13, P12 and, actually, right now I take a lot of maturity, as a rider but also as a person, and I think it helps a lot for the way of work that we now have during all the weekends.

“In 2019 I was really consistent because I had really great feeling on the front and I could really feel the limit, in 2020 I had no feeling from the front - in Jerez, in Barcelona, I was super fast but I could crash in every corner. Right now, even in the race, the best I have had was in Jerez this year - unfortunately the race was not so long! - but also, to make an overtake, you feel your front moving and you know that you are going really close to the crash. This is why I could make a step. Even in qualifying, here especially, I could really push the limits and you can feel like you’re going to crash every corner but every time is going well. Our bike has this strong point this year, like 2019.

“I’m glad [I had the surgery] because actually I had zero problem on the arm, physically, this weekend. I think if you ask all the riders, a big part will say that, shoulders, triceps etc., this is one of the most physical tracks on the calendar for the arm so I’m very happy to make that operation and the time for the operation was perfectly done, so I’m really happy.”

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