The tricky damp conditions meant Quartararo was unable to use the kerbs to carry corner speed on his underpowered Yamaha, leaving him just 0.347s from pole position but with six Ducatis and an Aprilia ahead of him.

The only good news for the Frenchman was that the Aprilia rider was Maverick Vinales, rather than nearest title rival Aleix Espargaro, who will start one place behind Quartararo in ninth.

But Francesco Bagnaia, fast closing on the pair after winning the last three races, was able to diminish the significance of his three-place grid penalty by qualifying second to team-mate Jack Miller.

That means, instead of taking maximum benefit from the factory Ducati rider’s grid penalty, as Quartararo had hoped, he starts already one row behind him.

Add in that it’s tough to pass on the M1, which is also prone to front tyre issues when trapped behind other machines, and Quartararo’s first priority is on delivering a ‘great first lap’.

Quartararo ‘starting to have much less fun’

“It was the maximum I could do, but I'm disappointed!” said Quartararo. “In these conditions, where in some corners I couldn't go on the kerb, like Turn 6, I could not really carry speed like we have to do with the Yamaha… Not using some kerbs in this track was really not an advantage for us, with a lack of power.

“So basically from Turn 6 to Turn 7 it was not great, in Turn 15 I had to make less corner speed, because we could not really use the kerbs either. So yeah, disappointed, but it's always the same problem.

“I'm starting to have much less fun than before and we have to find a solution quite fast.”

Looking ahead to the race, Quartararo warned: “This year, the most important is the qualifying. Because I think we have quite a fast pace, but where I can overtake?

“It's a track where there's a lot of acceleration and braking. If you're not getting at least a bit close, you cannot make any overtakes.

“In Austria I could overtake, but the amount of risk I'm taking in any overtake is so much. I will have to make a great start, great first lap, and play a lot in the first four corners.”

Quartararo fought his way through the pack of Ducatis to second place at the Red Bull Ring, but Aprilia is also looking much more competitive this weekend.

Quartararo will start Sunday’s race 32 points clear of Espargaro and 44 points ahead of Bagnaia.