Fabio Quartararo confirms he has avoided further injury to his left ankle following medical checks after being taken out by a high-siding Danilo Petrucci on the opening lap of the Australian MotoGP and hopes to return to full fitness for his team’s home round in Malaysia.

The Petronas Yamaha rider was nursing a haematoma on his left ankle after a nasty FP1 crash at the Siberia corner during the Phillip Island race weekend before being given a second heavy blow when he was hit by Petrucci after the Italian high-sided at Turn 2 at the start of the Australian GP.

Having been relieved to report no additional injuries in his race crash, Quartararo has been working on his recovery in the tight turnaround between the Australian and Malaysian rounds which complete the triple-header in Asia.

“Australia was a tough weekend and my mission since then has been to let my ankle recover as much as possible,” Quartararo said. “Fortunately, it was not further hurt in my crash on Sunday.

“I want to be as fit as possible as my target is to be at 100% for Malaysia. It’s a high target, but it’s important to set my sights high and have that mindset. Obviously, we tested in Sepang in the pre-season, and that’s a big benefit in my first year.”

The MotoGP rookie of the year is also aware of the additional pressure at Petronas Yamaha’s home race at Sepang and hopes to produce a strong showing having displayed solid pace at the pre-season test at the Malaysian track back in February.

Quartararo ended the final day of the three-day test 16th on the timesheet with a best lap time of 1m 59.497s which put him 1.258s off the pace of fastest rider which was Petrucci.

“We want to be fast as it’s the home race and a great place to reward the team and Petronas for all their support,” Quartararo added.

“We did a pretty good job at that test at Sepang and we return with a lot more experience under our belt. For sure, it will be really special with all the Malaysian fans so we want to reward everyone as best we can.”

Quartararo also has the opportunity to secure the MotoGP Independent Riders’ honour to go with his top rookie title. The French rider is 22 points clear of nearest rival Jack Miller meaning he can seal the title this weekend if he outscores Miller by more than three points at Sepang.

Petronas Yamaha can mathematically complete a double this weekend if it wraps up the MotoGP Independent Teams’ title.

With a maximum of 90 points left to score, the Sepang Racing Team-run squad has a 58-point lead over LCR Honda and will secure the title if it leaves Malaysia with a gap of more than 45 points over the satellite Honda squad.

“It’s going to be a nice weekend with so many fans supporting us at the home race for Petronas and the team. It’s a circuit I like a lot as it’s technical and interesting; it’s really a complete track,” Quartararo’s team-mate Franco Morbidelli added.

“We don’t expect the weather challenge to be the same as we saw in Phillip Island, that was a particularly frustrating situation as a rider, especially as we couldn’t get the bike as I wanted for Sunday.

“Of course, we know it’s likely to be quite a draining race with the heat and humidity, but that’s why we do so much training. For all the team’s home support we want a good result.”

 

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