Fabio Quartararo says a dream top-five finish could have been possible on his MotoGP home debut at Le Mans but blamed his poor start for missing out.

The Petronas Yamaha rider topped Sunday warm-up ahead of the French round with an impressive long run pace which saw him become tipped as a podium contender before the race but a weak opening lap, running wide at Turn 8, saw him pushed back to 15th place before suffering a similar mistake which saw him go as low as 17th on Lap 4.

But after rediscovering his rhythm and setting fastest laps he carved up the order to eighth place and 8.4 seconds off race-winner Marquez at the chequered flag.

Despite his recovery, Quartararo accepts his poor start cost him places he couldn’t make up having felt a battle for the top five against the Ducati trio of Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller plus Monster Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi would have been possible.

“It’s a shame about the beginning of the race. My start was bad and it was difficult to overtake because there were six riders within a second of each other,” Quartararo said. “It was very tough, but in the end we had very good pace.

“It’s good for our confidence that we had top five pace and a top five finish could have been possible.

“Today’s goal was the same as always, finishing in the top eight, and we achieved that. I’ve learned a lot about tyre management today and I can’t wait to get to Mugello and put into practice what I have learnt as it's one of the most difficult circuits to master.

“We will do the best we can and we will continue working like we have in the opening races. I’m happy with the work we have done here and I hope to continue in the same way at Mugello.”

The result did move Quartararo up a place in the MotoGP riders’ standings to 12th ahead of Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia as he remains leading rookie in the championship.

 

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