Fabio Quartararo says a late switch to a soft front tyre during his final qualifying run didn’t pay off as he had to settle for third place ahead of the San Marino MotoGP.

The Petronas Yamaha rider looked set to battle Maverick Vinales for pole position at the Rimini circuit and despite leading the early times in Q2 he was unable to match the improvements from the factory Yamaha rider and surprise package Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro.

That left the MotoGP rookie to be shuffled into third place, 0.306s off Vinales on pole position, having failed to step up his lap time from his first run.

Quartararo blamed opting for a soft front tyre for messing up his final run, having lost front-end grip and stability in hotter conditions, which ended up repeating the problem he faced during Friday practice at the slippery Misano circuit.

“In the morning we felt really good [topping FP3] as we had a really clear idea about the front tyre and this afternoon normally the plan was to make the two time attacks with the medium front,” Quartararo said.

“At the end I decided to move on to the soft and that was not the best decision. It was way too soft to stop the bike and I had many movement on the front so like yesterday, in the afternoon I didn’t feel really great, but this afternoon was more or less the same situation.

“But the main goal was to be on the front row and we reached out goal so I am really happy with how it went today. Our pace went really good with soft and medium tyres.”

With conditions expected to be the same for tomorrow’s MotoGP race, Quartararo is hopeful of finding a front-end grip solution in the warm-up session but could also rely on sticking with a medium front tyre to avoid the same mistake in the race.

“We will try something that we tried at the test which was really positive,” he said. “We know that tomorrow the condition of warm-up will be much cooler than the race but we can still try something and decide which tyre we will use.”

Quartararo has now claimed seven front row starts from 13 round in his rookie MotoGP campaign.



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