Quartararo: Rear grip 'ridiculous', 'first laps a nightmare'

MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo came into race day in Argentina believing he could 'fight for a great result' due to a strong pace on used tyres.
Fabio Quartararo, Argentinian MotoGP race, 3 April 2022
Fabio Quartararo, Argentinian MotoGP race, 3 April 2022

Second to eventual winner Aleix Espargaro during morning warm-up bolstered such expectations, but in the space of a few 'nightmare' laps the Monster Yamaha star plummeted from sixth to 13th in the race.

Quartararo was battling a 'ridiculous' lack of grip, exacerbating his M1's top speed deficit along the back straight.

"The big issue was rear grip and top speed," Quartararo said. "We already knew about the top speed, but the rear grip was ridiculous. 

"I was losing positions and seeing other guys pull away in places like Turn 6, which is just a matter of picking up the bike and opening the throttle. Pure grip. It was really frustrating and the first laps were a nightmare."

The same issue also blighted team-mate Franco Morbidelli, who dropped from 15th to 20th: "I lost some ground in the beginning to the other brands, with new tyres they are able to have the extra grip that allows them to overtake us, even if they don't have higher pace."

With grip levels growing as the race progressed, Quartararo was eventually able to pick up his pace, recovering to eighth at the chequered flag but some ten-seconds behind Espargaro's Aprilia.

"As soon as there was more rubber on the track, it was better," Quartararo confirmed. "But overtaking with our bike is really difficult.

"I did my best, but I used my rear tyre more than expected, and I finished in eighth position.

"But it's really frustrating in those first laps because I didn't make any big mistakes, I was just losing out because of the lack of grip.

"The warm-up was before the Moto2 race [rubber] and with lower temperature, so more grip. Also, if you are starting from the front instead of sixth you wouldn't lose so many places in the opening laps.

"The solution is more grip but it's not easy to find. In three years they didn't find it, so let's see."

Morbidelli was forced out by an early puncture as he began to climb back up the order: "Luckily I managed to stay on the bike, because I was almost highsiding big time, but I caught it in time and then just stopped."

Quartararo is now fifth in the world championship and ten points from new leader Espargaro, with Morbidelli twelfth in the standings.

"I have no deadline, I will take my time," Quartararo added of his 2023 contract negotiations.

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