Fabio Quartararo’s hopes of retaining his MotoGP title took a tumble on Sunday after he crashed his Monster Energy Yamaha M1 out of the Australian GP.
Having already suffered a moment at Phillip Island’s turn four, which saw the 2021 Champion off track and dropped to the back of the field, in 22nd, the Frenchman’s Sunday went from bad to worse as he exited the race early at the Southern Loop after just 11 laps.
“I was struggling a lot at turn four and I already made a mistake at the beginning of the race,” Quartararo said of his third non-score in four races. “It was not even a move, I think there was a tailwind, so it pushed me quite fast, and I’ve made a mistake. Then I tried to push, I was quite far and I could overtake three riders but then I pushed too much in turn two and I made a mistake.
“In the end, I think it will be important to analyse it well - I think we already know what happened - and then go to Malaysia with full motivation. I think Malaysia is a good track, I like it, so let’s see how we can do it.”
Pecco Bagnaia’s third place finish versus Quartararo’s DNF saw the title fight flipped with two races remaining. The 23-year-old now sits 14 points behind his Ducati rival - a stark switch from the 91 lead he held heading into the summer season.
“It has changed for him since the Sachsenring,” he said of the Italian’s season, “so it can change also for us in the last two. I feel that we can have a great last two races. We need to be focused, to work well, and see, but it can be worse for both of us.
“A change of strategy is difficult but I think that, in the end, we need to do our best and, more than that, enjoy it. In the recent races I couldn’t really enjoy it, and I feel like we need to enjoy the last two races. That, for me, will be the most important thing, because I know that when I enjoy it, I feel like we can go fast!”