As if negotiating Silverstone’s numerous kinks and fast turns wasn’t enough of a challenge, Fabio Quartararo had to contend with a flashing warning light as a technical issue forced him to switch bikes mid-session, depriving him of an ideal set-up for a front row tilt.

The rookie sensation was hotly tipped for a fourth pole position of the year on a red-hot Saturday afternoon in Northamptonshire, only for an issue with the engine of his first bike to trigger the warning lights on his dashboard when exiting turn six.

Unperturbed, Quartararo continued at full speed to post his fastest lap of the session. A high-speed switch to his second machine meant he was using a soft front tyre for his final assault on pole position. “It wasn’t the best feeling,” he conceded.

Late improvements from Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi and Jack Miller soon pushed the Frenchman off the front row and to fourth, but the 20-year old sought out the positives from a day in which he repeatedly showed podium potential.

“When I crossed the finish line I had an alarm on my dashboard,” explained Quartararo. “I finished my lap and after I needed to come in. I didn’t have enough time to change the front tyre and at the end I had a soft and soft.

“I wasn’t feeling really good with the soft front tyre. We didn’t really try it. I tried it in FP1 and it wasn’t the best feeling. Anyway I was quite happy because I could make more or less the same lap time as before. Unfortunately we are not on the front row but we had the pace all the weekend.”

Asked to specify where he first saw the warning light on his dashboard, the one-time grand prix winner clarified, “Coming out of turn six. Even if you think you are full gas when you see this light you are not really confident on the bike.

“I still managed to get a really good lap time but I was a bit scared when I saw the alarm.”

Did that issue cost him pole? “The first row, I think yes,” he said. “We are like 0.02. In this lap I made many mistakes. For the pole Marc did an incredible lap. For the pole we will never know but we could reach the front row if all was OK.”

His performance across the weekend leaves the Petronas SRT Yamaha man eyeing another strong showing on Sunday.

“I’m confident because we work quite well on the pace,” he said. “Friday was good. And this afternoon we tried both tyres – the medium and the hard – and the pace was really good. Also all the Yamahas are fast. Marc is really fast. Tomorrow will be a big fight for the podium.

“[Maverick] Viñales has a really good pace. I checked in FP4. For me we will check. For us the most important thing is the first laps because we are struggling with top speed. I was quite far in the qualifying. The most important will be like Austria: make a good start to finish the lap in the same position that I start in or more in front.

“What’s positive [here] is from the start to the first corner is really short. The powerful bikes can’t really overtake us on the run to the first corner so that’s really positive. We will give everything from the first lap.”

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