Quartararo: Replacing Rossi at Yamaha "huge responsibility"

MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo says the responsibility of taking Valentino Rossi’s place at the factory Yamaha squad in 2021 was “huge” due to the expectation of results.

Quartararo: Replacing Rossi at Yamaha "huge responsibility"

After a storming rookie campaign in 2019 with Petronas SRT on Yamaha’s ‘B-spec’ M1, in which he scored seven podiums and six poles, Quartararo was signed by the Japanese marque to its factory team for 2021 at the very start of last year.

With Maverick Vinales also being retained, Quartararo’s signing came at the expense of Rossi, who served 15 seasons with Yamaha’s factory team – winning four of his seven premier class titles for the marque.

Though Quartararo was adamant last year that he “can’t replace” Rossi, the fact Yamaha wasn’t willing to wait for Rossi to decide his own future in order to bat off interest from Ducati in Quartararo was significant.

After an inconsistent 2020 with SRT owing to a difficult Yamaha bike, Quartararo has been in the form of his grand prix career so far in 2021, winning four races – Doha, Portugal, Italy, Netherlands – and taking a 34-point lead into the summer break.

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com, Quartararo says he hasn’t felt any added pressure since stepping up to the factory Yamaha team but concedes the responsibility of taking Rossi’s place was big.

“Yes, I think for me about the pressure, I think it becomes something normal,” Quartararo began.

“I think I had pressure all my life and right now I feel it’s something normal. So, let’s say I’m used to it.

“For sure there will arrive a moment where it’s much more if you are fighting in one race for the championship but, at the moment, I feel the pressure is the same and normal.

“And the responsibility is huge. Taking the place of Valentino, everyone was waiting for me to make great results and everything.

“But I’m there, I think I’m doing a really great job and I feel that the team is happy about not only me, but about my crew, about the way we are working, the atmosphere in the team in both sides with the mechanics is good.

“So, all the team is working on a proper way, and I think this is helping a lot.”

Read Also:

After a tough end to his 2020 season, in which he went from leading the championship to eighth in the space of the last six races, Quartararo worked with a sports psychologist over the winter.

No stranger to such a move, Quartararo explained how this has helped him in 2021.

“Honestly, I’ve been only two times since November 2020, but that’s enough for me,” he said.

“My main goal was for him to help me to stay calm, he gave me some exercises that I do before the practices or when I feel I need to do these exercises.

“So, I think at that moment for me it’s just a reminder that when I’m angry or unhappy, I just do these exercises and it’s keeping me calm.

“It’s nothing more. It takes less than five seconds to make the exercise, so I can do it whenever – even on the bike.

“So, it’s quite easy and I feel like it’s just helping me to stay calm.

“And then the path of maturity and experience, I take it from last year and I realised during the winter what I needed to work on.

“But more than working with a psychologist, it was just [finding] a way to keep me calm.”

shares
comments

Related video

Espargaro battling lack of Honda MotoGP bike knowledge

Previous article

Espargaro battling lack of Honda MotoGP bike knowledge

Next article

KTM “trusted” its talent system “a year earlier than we wanted”

KTM “trusted” its talent system “a year earlier than we wanted”
Load comments
How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike Prime

How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike

His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten

The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career Prime

The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career

Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”.

MotoGP
Sep 22, 2021
Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future Prime

Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino GP will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP's present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia's flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

MotoGP
Sep 20, 2021
How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Prime

How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021
Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble Prime

Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble

OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment

MotoGP
Sep 8, 2021
Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP Prime

Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP

OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade

MotoGP
Aug 30, 2021
Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home Prime

Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home

OPINION: Many of the UK’s MotoGP fans would prefer Donington Park to host the British GP beyond the expiry of Silverstone's current deal. But the track's fast, flowing circuit provides the best racing and should be regarded as its best bet for the foreseeable future

MotoGP
Aug 26, 2021
How Marc Marquez is facing his toughest challenge in MotoGP Prime

How Marc Marquez is facing his toughest challenge in MotoGP

The 2020 MotoGP season was an enthralling affair, but few would argue with you if you thought the world championship was a poorer place without Marc Marquez. In an exclusive interview, he explains the challenges he's faced in his comeback from injury and what he makes of the current MotoGP landscape.

MotoGP
Aug 23, 2021