Fabio Quartararo could barely conceal his enthusiasm at the close of the first day of preseason testing in Qatar, as the Frenchman felt he had gone some way toward overcoming the braking deficincies he has faced in MotoGP to date.

The one-time grand prix winner has been in fine form in the desert, ending day one with the seventh fastest lap, 0.7s back of Maverick Viñales quickest time of the night.

And Quartararo was remarkably matter-of-fact when explaining how he had made such strides in the track’s heavy braking areas: mainly training his mind it was possible to grab his front lever a little later than he first thought possible.

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“I’ve been working on the braking zone,” he said on Saturday night. “I made a big step compared to Sepang. I feel more comfortable going into the corner. It’s a really positive point for my riding style and for me. Tomorrow we’ll make another step.

“Sincerely when I put the new tyre in I turn my brain off and said, ‘Let’s see what happens in the braking zone!’ I braked later, harder and the bike was still good. It’s really positive for my brain to know that I can brake later.

“It sounds easy but for sure it isn’t! On the straight you arrive here at 340kph so five metres can change a lot. When we made the step it was one metre by metre. You really have to be so precise.

“The only thing to improve the braking with these bikes is to make laps and to start thinking about our braking reference. You have to have one fixed and then every time try to brake a little bit later. But today I’m happy about the braking zone.”

On his overall impression of the Yamaha M1 at this track, Quartararo added, “We know the Yamaha here is working well. It’s not easy to adapt in the first laps, like Sepang, but we need to think of more settings to test.

“We will try some set-up on the bike, but nothing really big because I already have a good feeling with the M1.

“Here the grip was not so bad. OK, there was a lot of dust on the track. I was behind some riders and saw the sand. For sure it’ll improve tomorrow but I’m feeling good.”

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