Fabio Quartararo endured a sobering Italian MotoGP as he fell well short of an anticipated podium challenge after struggling for the pace that qualified him on the front row at Mugello.

The Frenchman snatched the headlines on Saturday with a superb run to second position on the grid aboard the Petronas Yamaha SRT on a day that saw the factory Yamaha contingent struggle much farther down the order.

However, come race day the satellite bikes were among the slower machines, with Quartararo’s obvious top speed deficit of around 16km/h to the leaders – whilst manageable over a single unimpeded lap – proving more noticeable in race conditions.

Not helped by a poor start that left him ninth by the first turn, Quartararo rallied briefly with the front group but otherwise faded back to tenth position in a race of several DNFs.

Even so, the young Frenchman was taking positives from the weekend, not least that single lap pace that ensured he featured inside the top five of every session, but also leading the Yamaha charge in the run up to the race and then still finishing as top rookie.

“I struggled right from the beginning,” he lamented. “My start wasn’t bad, but I did a small wheelie that made me lose several positions. As the race progressed, the front tyre pressure increased a lot and unfortunately I couldn’t find a good feeling with the front. Our pace during the weekend was good, but we couldn’t get a great result. The goal is to be the best rookie, and today we achieved that.

“I don’t want to rush and I want to go step-by-step. Now we are going to Barcelona, which is one of my favourite circuits and I can’t wait to ride there with a MotoGP bike.”

 

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