Quartararo: Yamaha atmosphere “fantastic” amid Vinales controversy

Fabio Quartararo insists the atmosphere within the Yamaha MotoGP team is “fantastic” despite the situation surrounding teammate Maverick Vinales’ suspension at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Quartararo: Yamaha atmosphere “fantastic” amid Vinales controversy

Vinales was suspended by the team and withdrawn from this weekend’s Red Bull Ring race after deliberately trying to blow up his Yamaha’s engine in last week’s Styrian GP at the same venue.

Yamaha elected against replacing Vinales for the weekend, leaving championship leader Quartararo as the sole representative on track for the factory squad.

Despite intense media interest in Yamaha this weekend surrounding the Vinales situation, Quartararo insists the atmosphere within the garage hasn’t changed.

“The atmosphere is great,” he said after qualifying second for Sunday’s 28-lap Austrian GP.

“I mean, I have my people in the garage, one mechanic from Maverick’s [team] stayed to help. I want to thank him because he is working on my bike also [while] he could be at home. So, thanks to him.

"The atmosphere is fantastic.”

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Red Bull Ring is arguably Yamaha’s weakest circuit on the 2021 calendar but Quartararo will leave it leading the championship still, regardless of what happens in Sunday’s Austrian GP.

The Frenchman was set to take pole for the event with a new lap record of 1m22.677s, but was denied at the death by Pramac Ducati rookie and Styrian GP winner Jorge Martin.

Showing strong race pace in FP4 on Saturday, Quartararo believes he is capable of reaching the podium again but won’t overstretch himself unnecessarily on Sunday given his championship situation.

“I mean I have not a clear objective because in a race in this track it’s really difficult to fight [unlike] at Assen, for example, where the straights are really short,” he added.

“It depends a lot on the first laps, but of course I will give my maximum.

“I think our pace is to fight for the podium or for top five, but I will not put myself crazy if I see somebody in front that is going faster.

“I will do the best I can, going to the limit, but I will not push more than my limit. So, I will go 100% in the race, but I will not go over it.”

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