The Monster Yamaha star lost just 1.5s as he took the extra ‘loop’ but still crucially dropped to fifth place.

The M1’s lack of top speed meant Quartararo then became stuck in the dirty air of his opponents, which contributed to his rear tyre overheating, dropping his performance even further.

“I thought the Long Lap Penalty would have penalised me much more. It was not so bad,” he said. “Just the rear tyre was so bad. Behind riders, we cannot ride our bike.

“When there is just one bike, it is okay. But as soon as there is more than one bike, the rear tyre was so hot and we lose performance. And then for us to overtake is a nightmare.”

Zarco crashed out of the lead on the same lap that Quartararo took his penalty. Asked if he could have stayed at the front without the Long Lap, Quartararo replied:

“I think yes. Because our problem was not the [time] distance [to the winner]. We lost one and a half seconds, which isn’t bad. If it’s just one bike and I lost 1.5s, it is OK.

“But when I was behind the other riders, my rear tyre got super-hot because of the other machines [ahead] and tyre performance dropped.”

While podium finishers Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati), Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) and Jack Miller (Ducati) all ran the hard rear tyre, Quartararo opted for the medium.

“With the hard, it would have been better. But it is always easy to talk after the race,” he said.

“We didn’t try the hard rear tyre [before the race]. We made a mistake not trying it… and, in these conditions, it was super-important to use this tyre.”

The only good news for Quartararo was that the soft front tyre “was OK. Normally I hate the really soft tyre, but on this track it worked well for us.”

But it couldn’t prevent Quartararo slipping all the way down to eighth place, although he was at least able to fend off an 'optimistic' last lap pass by title rival Aleix Espargaro.

“Top speed, acceleration, rear grip… A lot of things that we don’t have,” answered Quartararo, when asked what he had seen from the myriad of rival machines that passed him during the race.

“But I prefer not to talk too much about this. The main thing for us is to stay focused - not look at the negative points that we have, because we can’t improve them this year.”

‘We’ve lost nearly two races to Pecco’

Despite dropping steadily back down the order to eighth place, Quartararo was at least able to retaliate after a last-lap lunge from title rival Aleix Espargaro.

Quartararo will now take a 22-point lead over Espargaro into the next round in Austria, but Bagnaia is the man of the moment.

The Ducati rider has slashed a 91-point deficit to 49 points after victory in the last two races was combined with Quartararo’s Assen DNF and the Silverstone eighth.

“We’ve nearly lost two races [of points to Bagnaia]! So of course I see Pecco much more in the competition for the title,” Quartararo said. “It is something which we need to get used to.

“On a Friday they [Ducati] are a little slower than us, because our bike is really similar to previous years. But as soon as we do more laps, they are faster than us.”

Despite Quartararo’s difficulties, the next best Yamaha of team-mate Franco Morbidelli was almost 12 seconds behind, in 15th place.