A re-energised Fabio Quartararo returned to action at the second Qatar MotoGP test today with a record-breaking personal best performance.
After ending the opening test in Qatar with the fastest time overall, Yamaha’s Frenchman echoed last-weekend’s impressive showing with another scintillating lap, this time breaking both his previous best and, albeit briefly, the all-time lap record, on the opening of the second three-day test.
Completing 62 laps in total while working on his bike‘s race set-up, the Monster Energy rider was in his element in the final stages, clocking a 1‘53.263s best time on lap 55, just 30 minutes before the end of the session. Briefly topping the standings, before Ducati’s Jack Miller struck back to clinch the crown, Quartararo ultimately wrapped up the day in second place, 0.080s from the top.
When asked about the battle with Miller and his thoughts on the imposing lap-times, a slightly downbeat Quartararo joked “Yes. I’m happy that it is Jack in front of me” before responding more seriously to the day’s achievements.
“I’m so happy about my lap, it’s one of the best laps I ever did, so I’m happy” the 21-year-old confirmed.
“Today we’ve tried many things and actually we make a big step on the pace on the last runs, so yes, I can be happy because we make a big step on the used tyre and that was the goal today. The first part of the day I was not happy, second part of the day I was really happy.
“We have two more days to work on the pace, but, yes, I’m so happy about that lap, honestly, because you know when we are working on a new bike and you reach to make great lap time like this, I was so happy but we need to make a step on the pace. We already did one, we need one more but we are ready for it.”
Testing a range of options across the day’s seven hours, including a new mudguard and the 2021 chassis, Quartararo explained: “about the fairing, the front fender, it’s difficult to feel, you don’t feel it, you don’t feel the difference, they just need to check on the data if it’s better or not, but in general, today was really good.
We make the lap-time with the new chassis, so I believe that is the right one but I want to stay calm because last year was exactly the same. With the 2020 bike we have been so fast so I don’t want to be that happy before another circuit, so I just want to keep it calm and see if in the future it is going well.”
While Quartararo is sure the 2021 chassis is the right way to go, for him, he has yet to discuss the option with his Yamaha teammates and believes there is still a lot of work for the trio left to do.
“At the moment, we don’t really talk. Maverick try it, I think, today. Maverick, Valentino are working by themselves. I have already a lot of things to test, so I prefer to worry first about me, but let’s see which conclusion we get but is not enough. I think we are going in the right way but compared to 2019, we are missing a lot.”