Quartararo: Front tyre felt like chewing gum, Bagnaia pushed me to the limit

Unable to get close as his front tyre felt like ‘chewing gum’, Fabio Quartararo believes victory at the Jerez MotoGP was made nearly ‘impossible’ after failing to get through on Francesco Bagnaia during the opening few laps.
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha MotoGP Jerez
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha MotoGP Jerez

Quartararo got a brilliant start, one that looked like being enough to challenge the Ducati rider into turn one, however, Bagnaia held strong before going on to lead every lap of the Spanish MotoGP. 

Crucial to not being stuck behind the Ducati rider, it was evident that Quartararo was trying everything to get close as front tyre pressure continued to rise due to extremely hot track conditions. 

When an overtake appeared too difficult, Quartararo began to fall back leading many to believe Bagnaia had superior pace. But it was instead Quartararo choosing to get clean air onto his front tyre before sustaining a late charge. 

Said charge saw Quartararo close a nine tenth deficit down to two come the finish line, albeit the French rider never got close enough to attempt a pass on Bagnaia. 

"I managed to make a really great start but Pecco made an amazing braking into turn one," added Quartararo. "One and Two he was super strong. I knew that if I couldn’t overtake him in the first two or three laps then it was going to be difficult for our front tyre and basically it’s what happened. 

"Then, during the race I always stayed a little bit behind because it was impossible to ride with the front. It was sliding so much and moving a lot. It felt like chewing gum. 

Fabio Quartararo, Spanish MotoGP race, 1 May
Fabio Quartararo, Spanish MotoGP race, 1 May

"In the end I had to try but I couldn’t make anything more to be closer. I was a bit closer in turn ten and tried to get 11 really fast, but I went wide and knew it wasn’t possible to overtake. 

"I’m super happy because I feel like I’ve improved my riding when having difficulties on the front. This is a great point."

‘Bagnaia pushed me to the limit’ - Quartararo

Despite showing the whole MotoGP field a clean pair of heels in Portimao, Jerez was a race where more could be learned for the Yamaha rider, as he saw what it was like to chase Bagnaia when at the limit.

"Even when you finish second you always learn and I think I learn more in this type of race than Portugal," claimed the world champion. "He (Bagnaia) pushed me to the limit and I think it’s great to have someone like this because you improve your riding a lot and I’m sure Aleix [Espargaro] will also be here. The consistency he has this year is big, so he’s part of the game."

Yamaha riders struggling is ‘not my problem’, MotoGP champion has enough on his plate 

While Quartararo was busy fighting at the front, all other Yamaha riders struggled with team-mate Franco Morbidelli only 15th - 27 seconds down on Quartararo. 

Clearly making the difference, Quartararo said it’s ‘not my problem’ that the likes of Morbidelli and Andrea Dovizioso can’t figure out the puzzle of this year’s M1, while also claiming he’s somewhat surprised to be leading the championship. 

Andrea Dovizioso, Spanish MotoGP race, 1 May
Andrea Dovizioso, Spanish MotoGP race, 1 May

Quartararo said: "I was more surprised to be leading the championship last week. Apart from Mandalika it was, I will not say a disaster, but my position was seven, eight, nine and second, and then of course the victory. 

"We always finish in the top ten and in the end I think in these kinds of races you need to give your best to take three, four, five points more than what you need. 

"Means that these points are super important. Every moment I’m riding to the limit and I have nothing more. 

"It’s true that other Yamaha’s are struggling but this is not my problem. I already have enough to think about being fast with our bike."

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