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MotoGP Austrian GP

Quartararo compares MotoGP champion Bagnaia to F1 dominator Verstappen

Fabio Quartararo has compared MotoGP championship leader Francesco Bagnaia to Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen in how competitive he is now.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Bagnaia stormed to a dominant victory in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix by over five seconds, completing his third sprint/GP double of the season after also winning Saturday’s half-distance contest at the Red Bull Ring.

Qualifying on pole and setting the fastest lap in both contests this weekend as well as leading every single racing lap, it was a perfect round for the Ducati rider.

Now strengthening his championship lead to 62 points at the halfway stage of the season, Bagnaia is looking increasingly harder to beat in his quest for a second world title.

Quartararo, who was eighth on Sunday as his Yamaha struggles in 2023 continue, has likened Bagnaia to current F1 dominator Verstappen – who has won all but two grands prix so far this season, including the last eight on the bounce.

“I think he’s a little bit [like] Verstappen now because I think also like in the previous years he had the best bike,” Quartararo said when asked if anyone could beat Bagnaia now.

“But you can have the best bike and not do the best results. It’s a combination and looks like right now the combination he has with the bike, the confidence he has with the bike, when you are winning, winning, winning you feel you are unstoppable.

“This is the feeling he has now, he knows how to use the bike, so right now I don’t think anyone can be faster than him.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Commenting on his Austrian GP, Bagnaia hailed it as “one of the best wins of the season”, while praising the job his Ducati team did in improving the bike’s starting performance.

“I’m very happy, honestly, because we did such an incredible job and my team gave to me everything I asked,” Bagnaia said.

“We improved a lot compared to Friday, where I already had a good feeling, but I was missing something.

“So, yesterday we improved our feeling and today in the race, which was not easy for the conditions because it was very hot and I was already knowing that the rear tyre could be a mess.

“But right now we are understanding a bit better how to improve on that. It’s one of the best wins of the season in terms of speed and consistency.

“We improved a bit the first part of acceleration. I want to say thanks to the engineers of Ducati for that because I thought our potential at the start could be higher and KTM was doing an amazing job.

“We were closer every time, but we were missing the first part of acceleration. But now we’ve closed this gap, so I’m very happy.”

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