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MotoGP Qatar I: First five laps the key for Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo will start the first race of the season from the front row of the grid, alongside Monster Energy teammate Maverick Vińales and believes the first five laps are key to grabbing the Qatar win.

The Yamaha riders both riders set times in Q2 that were under the previous all-time lap record of the Losail International Circuit to secure second and third place respectively.

Waiting for clear space before setting out for his hot lap, Quartararo secured second on his first try, but it was just the beginning. He showed it wasn‘t just a lucky shot by posting a further impressive lap time, a 1‘53.038s, for provisional pole with the time remaining unthreatened as the field returned to the pits for fresh tyres.


Re-entering the track on his own once again, the Frenchman had just over four minutes left on the clock. Unable to improve on his earlier time on his first attempt, he had hoped to be able to push for one more lap, but it wasn‘t to be, as he crossed the line just a second after the flag was raised. His earlier effort saw him safely on the front row, just 0.266s from Pecco Bagnaia’s record-breaking pole.

“It‘s a shame that I couldn‘t do a second flying lap on my second run,” Quartararo commented. “I took the chequered flag by a second but I‘m still quite happy. We did a great lap. In FP4 we tried something that I didn‘t like and I didn‘t feel good on the bike.

“We decided to go back like in the test, and that was the best setup, that for us was the fastest, and I was able to make the fastest time but I feel like we have great potential for tomorrow. We will be using the qualifying bike, because that‘s the one I feel good on. I think we did a great job in qualifying. All that remains is the race. I can‘t wait!

“I’m happy because I couldn’t benefit from my second tyre in qualifying so I think that we had a little bit of margin on the second tyre because Franco was in front of us, but unfortunately we take the chequered flag.

‘I think today the best place that we can achieve was the second place. It’s so important To be on the front row, I don’t know if all the manufacturers have the front device for the starts. In the test I was practising a lot, Maverick also, to make the best start as possible. Unfortunately, it is so difficult to make a great start and so easy to make a bad one.

“Compared to the other riders we are quite slow,” the Frenchman continued “so we will try to manage the best way as possible, to go fast in the first laps and make the best of our potential but I’m feeling great and feeling fast, so I will go for it tomorrow.

“My goal is to make great first laps, a great start, we need to be aggressive from the beginning. I’ve been doing some overtakes in the test and I think that the first five laps will be so important and then we will see.

“The story of Yamaha as the easy bike, is quite finished. Now we need to push like hell to make the lap time so we need to work that way for qualifying and also try to be great at the end of the race on the pace because it’s totally two different ways of riding - the qualifying and the race.

If we check the victories, last year Yamaha had seven victories, all these victories start in the front, make our pace and win the race. We know how bad we struggle behind a bike, that is other than Yamaha.

“In Barcelona when I won the race I was behind Valentino and Franco and to fight with Yamaha is okay but as soon as we have other bikes is different so the plan is try to go in the front and make our pace but even if it’s not the best fighting bike.


“I will try to make the difference. If we can help each other to not lose time, can overtake in the slipstream then follow, if we can help us like this and do not lose time in the corners I think that that will be a great strategy.

While Yamaha seems to have made a jump in improvements this winter, as has been the case in the past, the Monster rider is not counting his chickens too early: “I want to be calm, because last year when I tried the bike, everything was perfect, everything was going well.

“I don’t want to be happy so early, but right now the feeling with the bike is great. I’m feeling good and I’m feeling more or less like Jerez, but I don’t want to be too happy soon, so I hope it keeps going like this and I can be happy.”

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