Fabio Quartararo calls his shot with tyre plans ahead of Portuguese MotoGP

Fabio Quartararo opted for a unique tyre strategy in the MotoGP sprint race at Portimao, using the medium rear tyre as opposed to the soft.

Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 22 March
Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 22 March

Fabio Quartararo’s strong Portuguese MotoGP continued in the sprint race as he claimed points and was only eight seconds away from the win.

Still a big margin for someone of Quartararo’s talent, it is however a step forward for Yamaha who also managed to get both bikes directly into Q2 thanks to Quartararo and Alex Rins’ strong performance on Friday. 

Choosing a different tyre strategy to most, Quartararo said: “I expected the race of today to go like that because we were the only one with the medium rear.

“We had quite a bad feeling from the soft. The drop of the tyre was quite big so I preferred to suffer a little bit on the first two laps and then to step up the pace.

“It was quite good and it was great to see the difference of the bikes around me.

“I had Aleix [Espargaro] in front of me and it was totally different and was good information for us.”

Quartararo was following Espargaro for much of the race, which could be even more valuable for himself if he joins Aprilia next season.

And while the Yamaha rider was unable to challenge Espargaro, the tyre strategy used is one that could see him do just that in the longer grand prix on Sunday.

Speaking about his chances, Quartararo said: “Much better [than the sprint] I don’t know but at least we have raced the medium.

“It was difficult in the first two laps because warming up the rear was quite difficult.

“But it was okay and I think tomorrow we will go with the hard front but we didn’t test it all weekend and this was a big mistake from us.

“But it is okay and we take some experience. The tyre for the race tomorrow should be hard-medium.”

In Qatar Quartararo was 12 seconds off the win in the sprint, and it’s a format that has been difficult for Yamaha since it was introduced.

But Quartararo said the Portimao race was one of his better: “For me it was an even better one. How many sprint races have I finished eight second from first and with different tyres it was quite good.

“Hopefully tomorrow we can have a great race. Our race won’t be too bad with the medium.”

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