This Sunday, April 24, 2022, Fabio Quartararo answered journalists’ questions from the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão after the Portuguese Grand Prix.
After a difficult Friday, the French driver had been showing great competitiveness since Saturday morning, even going so far as to fight for pole position until his time was canceled because he was driven under yellow flags. He made up for it in the race, obtaining the 9th victory of his career in MotoGP and taking command of the championship.
As usualwe report here the words of Fabio Quartararo without any formatting, even if it is partially translated (tu in English, tu in French).
Fabio, tell us about your weekend with a start in the rain and a race in the dry…
Fabio Quartararo: “to be honest, apart from Friday, I think it was my best weekend ever, because I was 20th in the rain on the first day, and directly the morning (next) we finished less than a tenth from the first. In FP4, with mixed conditions, I was able to manage to get into the top 5 with the rain tyre, then with the slick in qualifying I was able to do very good laps, in what I would call the worst conditions for me. . And this morning, I felt very comfortable with the rhythm. I was able to manage to have a very good pace but I was really surprised to be so fast in the race. on lap three I was in 1’39.4 and that was kind of weird for me because we hadn’t had a lot of track time on slicks. Being straight in 39, I was impressed, but I was very happy that I was able to get that pace. »
With ups and downs this year, how are you dealing with the pressure compared to last season and have you improved in your riding?
“To be honest, apart from Indonesia where we had the pace to fight for the win, Qatar was tough because we won last season and we finished ninth, and in Austin seventh whereas last year we were second. But I was riding very well and I had no say in my riding, although of course you can always improve. But here, it’s a circuit that I like. In my opinion it offers a lot of grip and the last corner is in a sector where I manage to be very fast: I was very strong to come into turn 15, and compared to Joan (Mir) I was a lot faster in this turn. But in my opinion, I’m driving like in previous races: I didn’t do anything new or strange, so for me it was natural. But it is true that today I impressed myself quite a bit by doing almost the whole race in 1’39, and if I had had the pressure of someone behind, it is sure that I could have done 1’39 the whole race. »
Is this victory due more to improvements to your bike or to the characteristics of this circuit?
“Overall, I never said the bike didn’t work. The bike works in a way where, if it doesn’t work, you’re not fighting that kind of position. It is true that we lack a lot of top speed, but on this circuit I did not feel in difficulty regarding top speed because I was coming out of the last corner very quickly, and at the top of the hill I was trying to manage for not having a lot of wheelie. I was super strong there, and I think the key point for me was the last sector. In my opinion, it was only the consequence of the fact that we felt much better on this track. That’s how it is and nothing has really changed. »
This is the second time that we have witnessed a French double. What do you feel ?
“Sharing this with Johann is special, because we are only two Frenchmen on the grid and we have two Frenchmen on the podium. So I think for the French, this sport has progressed a lot in our country in the last year and it’s quite important because few people know how much risk we take, but also how much fun we have, and I think that it’s fantastic to watch. »
You win this victory on election day in France. Are you going to ask the future president for a bonus to represent France in this way?
“I don’t quite understand this question. Above all, I will not talk about politics (laughs). »
Macron or Le Pen?
“(finger over mouth and laughs)”
We saw that you were very moved on the podium. Was it because it had been a long time since you had any wins, or because of the difficult first results this year?
“I would say both because it’s been quite a while since I’ve had a win, I think it was July or August at Silverstone, but I’ve had some tough times this year as well. It was a short period, only four races, but you know when you win the championship you always want to fight for the championship again. For me, it was hard to accept that I was happy to finish seventh in Austin, because I had improved a lot in racing and my pace compared to last year. We haven’t made significant progress on the bike and we know what’s going on, so of course it’s hard for me to see the team cheering me on for a seventh place! In my mind, a seventh place is not good! But I was happy, and today to fight for victory again was something special, something really moving because I always said that I will fight the same way for first place, fifth or the tenth. Today, of course, for the premiere, it was much more fun and that’s why I was moved. »
Does today’s result make your future easier?
” Nope ! (laughs). I’m in Kimi mode (Räikkönen)! (laughs)”
The other Yamaha riders said that you had more experience than them on this bike and that you understood it better. Do you think the Yamaha is special to tune?
“I made the jump to MotoGP on the Yamaha the same year as Franco (Morbidelli) so I don’t know why I have more experience than him on the bike! For me, it’s very clear that a lot of riders think we lack grip at the rear. It’s not true! We could see coming out of the last corner that I would never have overtaken Joan (Mir) if I hadn’t had enough grip. Of course, if you ask all the drivers on the grid what they need is rear grip because we go faster (with it). What it lacks is top speed, but our bike is fantastic. If I have to say anything about what I can improve other than top speed, I don’t know! I don’t know, because we have a lot of cornering ability, the braking stability is good… (pout) So for me the bike works great! But it’s true that if you have a long straight line like in Argentina and V-corners you’re lost, because you can’t have cornering speed, you can’t round the trajectories, you wear out more the tires and that’s why we struggle so much. So you think it comes from the rear grip but overall it all comes from the top speed. »
Regarding the other Yamaha riders who are far behind you, it also seems to come from the mind. You know what you have, you ride what you have, and you work more on yourself than on the bike. That’s it ?
“To be honest, in Austin, before starting the race it was hard to know that you weren’t going to fight for the victory, because my pace was good, not the best but it was good. I started the race and I said to myself “well, whatever the position, I will give 100%”. And that’s what I did. And I finished seventh. Like I said before, I’m not super happy with a seventh place but I did my best, and I know in 2019 or 2020 when I was going down I was hitting rock bottom. This year, and last year, when I went down, I always tried to go up to finish P7, P8 or P9, as if it were for a podium. So I think that’s why I made a massive change last year in Jerez, when I had compartment syndrome: I finished thirteenth, but thirteenth is three points! And in the end, 3 points…
It’s like the three races we did: ninth in Qatar, eighth in Argentina, seventh in Austin, and we’re leading the championship! So I think that kind of race where you’re disappointed, at the end of the year it pays off. »
Results of the MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix at the Algarve International Autodrome in Portimão:
Classification credit: MotoGP.com