Quartararo: French MotoGP “strangest race on my life”

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo says Sunday’s MotoGP French Grand Prix was the “strangest race of my life” having never ridden in a flag-to-flag scenario before.

Quartararo led the field into pitlane in the early stages of the race when the rain fell, but admitted he initially forgot about MotoGP’s flag-to-flag rule when conditions changed.

The Yamaha rider was then handed a long lap penalty for stopping in the wrong box in pitlane, but recovered from this and a lack of grip in the closing stages to claim his first wet-weather MotoGP podium in third.

Having ended an FP3 held in similar conditions 19th and struggling to ninth in the wet Le Mans race in 2020 having also started from pole then, Quartararo admits he “didn’t expect” to get to the podium at Le Mans this time.

“Honestly it was the strangest race of my life because I was in P3, it was starting to rain and in the beginning Maverick [Vinales] and Jack [Miller] were taking it a bit carefully,” he explained.

“I said ‘ok, I need to overtake’. I made a great overtake in the chicane, then when it was starting to rain a lot I was like ‘why is it not a red flag’, and then I was like ‘fuck, we are in MotoGP so we have a second bike to go to’.

“I saw the white flag. In turn 9 I nearly lost the rear because it was a massive, massive difference.

“So, I think the guys could catch me through this. I took it carefully, I got the wrong bike, I was going to jump on Maverick [Vinales’] bike, then I just ran to my bike but it was a great experience.

“And most of all we didn’t expect to make a podium in this condition.

“So, I’m so happy and we made a step in those conditions.”

Building on his first flag-to-flag race, Quartararo added: “Honestly it was so difficult, and I make a small change in the warm-up.

“Was good because the last two laps I make many mistakes but we were still there.

“But I never expected to finish in that position. When I saw I was 20 laps remaining with the soft/soft and it was drying up, I say ‘ok, we are not in a great position’.

“Then I saw the gap to Taka [Nakagami] was big, then I saw it was Johann [Zarco] but he was so fast and I think with the tyre combination he had from the middle of the race was better.

“Then it was [Francesco] Bagnaia, Alex Marquez, but I pushed a lot because Bagnaia was coming so fast.”

Read Also:

This result comes just under two weeks after Quartararo had surgery on the arm pump issue which robbed him of victory at Jerez, with the Yamaha rider now leading the championship again by one point.

“It feels really good because when you think back to Jerez it’s a big shame because I was there to win because I was feeling so great,” he added.

“And when you have this surgery, it was tough to accept but then you say ‘ok, it happens’.

“We arrived here, straight away in the dry conditions in FP2 I felt good – a bit of pain.

“And in the race maybe it’s even better that we have this condition that we don’t make 27 laps at the limit.

“So, honestly after the surgery and everything to be on the podium is amazing.”

shares
comments

Related video

MotoGP champion Mir baffled by race-ending Le Mans crash

Previous article

MotoGP champion Mir baffled by race-ending Le Mans crash

Next article

Miller “didn’t believe” French MotoGP long-lap penalties

Miller “didn’t believe” French MotoGP long-lap penalties
Load comments
How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches Prime

How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches

Forming a ladder all the way from Red Bull Rookies Cup to MotoGP, KTM has created a steady stream of top talents in grand prix racing delivering the Austrian marque with the success expected of the brand. Here's how it has gone about it.

MotoGP
Jul 28, 2021
Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant Prime

Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant

Danilo Petrucci’s days in MotoGP appear numbered, as KTM looks to completely reshuffle the Tech3 team for 2022. Though the Italian's 2021 season so far hasn’t been standout, the giant Italian covertly became a top runner in MotoGP across the last decade and brought with him a personality that world sport sorely needs more of

MotoGP
Jul 22, 2021
Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet Prime

Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet

Joan Mir’s defence of his MotoGP title has had an underwhelming start as Suzuki didn’t progress its championship-winning GSX-RR as much as its rivals did with their bikes over the winter. Speaking to Motorsport.com, Mir lays out why his title defence has been stalled so far and why he’s confident title number two is still within reach

MotoGP
Jul 12, 2021
How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed Prime

How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed

It's been six years since Jorge Lorenzo gave Yamaha its last MotoGP title in 2015. Since his departure at the end of 2016, Yamaha's form has been inconsistent but it has at last found a new talisman to return it to the top spot in the form of a precociously talented Frenchman who currently leads the standings.

MotoGP
Jul 6, 2021
Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties Prime

Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties

On Monday, Yamaha announced it will part ways with Maverick Vinales at the end of the 2021 season - a move requested by the rider. As the already strained relationship between both parties in MotoGP hit rock bottom in recent weeks, this divorce - as Oriol Puigdemont writes - is good for both Yamaha and Vinales for a number of reasons

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2021
The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption Prime

The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption

A decade after first linking up with Ducati in what turned out to be an ill-fated period in his MotoGP career, Valentino Rossi has joined forces with the Italian marque once more - this time as a team owner. And the VR46/Ducati tie-up beginning in 2022 has the potential to right the wrongs of Rossi and Ducati's nadir of 2011/2012.

MotoGP
Jun 24, 2021
Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi Prime

Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi

With Valentino Rossi’s next career move imminent in MotoGP, it is set to have wide-reaching influences on a number of riders and teams on the grid. But one of the biggest impacts will be felt at Yamaha, with its pivotal role in the saga set to see it lose its appointment with ‘The Doctor’

MotoGP
Jun 22, 2021
How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win Prime

How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win

Marc Marquez has been through hell and back in the 581 days between his win in the 2019 Valencia season finale and his heroic MotoGP comeback victory in Germany last Sunday. Despite battling physical limitations and a difficult 2021-spec Honda, the Sachsenring provided the perfect storm for the Spaniard to return to the top step

MotoGP
Jun 21, 2021