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.

Listen to this article

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
Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2022 Prime

Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2022

The 2022 MotoGP season was another hotly contested championship, with Francesco Bagnaia emerging as the title winner after the campaign went to the wire. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 best performers of the season

Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo? Prime

Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo?

Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo had a 91-point lead over rival Francesco Bagnaia after the German Grand Prix, a seemingly impregnable gap to overcome in the remaining 10 races. But as the Frenchman struggled for pace with his Yamaha, Bagnaia stormed back into contention and swept to Ducati's first riders' title since 2007

MotoGP
Nov 25, 2022
Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests Prime

Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests

After a run on Honda's 2023 prototype MotoGP bike, six-time champion Marc Marquez made his pessimism clear with his initial reaction. But the Japanese marque has made leadership changes behind closed doors - and a more representative bike promised for the Malaysia test in February could placate Marquez.

MotoGP
Nov 23, 2022
Why new MotoGP champion Bagnaia has a stronger character than it seems Prime

Why new MotoGP champion Bagnaia has a stronger character than it seems

While new MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia might not be the loudest rider on the grid, his calm exterior belies a steely backbone. His part in turning around Ducati's fortunes at the start of the year, when displeased with a new engine concept, shows the strength of his character.

MotoGP
Nov 16, 2022
Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough Prime

Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough

OPINION: Despite the superiority exhibited by the Ducati in 2022, the context in which Francesco Bagnaia became MotoGP world champion means that both the rider and the Italian marque merit the same recognition that the brand and Casey Stoner received after their 2007 title

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2022
Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending Prime

Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending

OPINION: MotoGP’s fifth last round showdown of the modern era delivered a tense finale despite the predictable outcome, as Francesco Bagnaia ended 15 years of pain for Ducati. But as emotions ran high for the Italian marque, a final victory for a departing Japanese rival tinged the campaign’s conclusion with sadness.

MotoGP
Nov 7, 2022
Why the 2023 MotoGP title battle has already begun Prime

Why the 2023 MotoGP title battle has already begun

Since Ducati announced the arrival of Enea Bastianini to its factory team for 2023, the staging of the four-time race winner has strained the atmosphere within the Italian manufacturer, which has raised its guard in anticipation of what may happen between him and championship favourite Francesco Bagnaia.

MotoGP
Nov 1, 2022
Why Yamaha has just six months to safeguard Quartararo's future Prime

Why Yamaha has just six months to safeguard Quartararo's future

Yamaha's decision to dispense pre-season with the 2022 engine it had intended to use due to lack of reliability, the promises of improvement to Fabio Quartararo and the advance with which the rider market moves leaves the Japanese brand with less than six months to prevent the Frenchman from starting to look for a way out

MotoGP
Oct 28, 2022