While a sixth pole position of his rookie MotoGP campaign comes as a welcomed bonus, Fabio Quartararo’s main focus remains finding stronger race pace having felt unable to catch up with Marc Marquez and Maverick Vinales ahead of the Valencia Grand Prix.

Quartararo has matched Christian Sarron’s premier class record as the French rider with the most pole positions by taking his sixth and the final pole of the 2019 MotoGP season beating Marquez by 0.032s.

The Petronas Yamaha rider, who topped the opening three practice sessions, is content with his qualifying feats but is still searching for setup gains to improve his race pace compared to both Marquez and Vinales who he expects to be his main rivals in tomorrow’s race.

“I am really happy about the pole position but yesterday we were not feeling so great on the pace,” Quartararo said. “We finished P1 in the general classification yesterday but our pace was not so good and today we made a step, not as close as Marc and Maverick’s pace, but I am really happy because we are much more constant.

“Sector 4 was a point where we struggled a lot yesterday and today we made a step and I hope to make another one tomorrow in warm-up.

“Malaysia was really tough as I made a disaster first lap and a disaster start so it was not easy to recover. Also I had a higher tyre pressure in the front tyre [in Malaysia], and I couldn’t stop the bike so that is something we need to work on for next year. Normally here the front pressure doesn’t go so high so normally we wouldn’t have this problem.

“We have been working in a really good way over these two days and I think that we can finish the season in a really good way.”

Quartararo hopes to correct his mistakes from the last round in Malaysia with a faster start to stay a part of the leading group early on to give himself a better chance of reaching the rostrum at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

“There are three different bikes on the front row but for me the strategy with the Yamaha is always the same,” he said. “Try to make a good start and trying to push in the first laps.

“It is never easy because sometimes we miss the start like we did in Malaysia so we have practiced quite well at this GP so for me the strategy will be to try to push hard in the first five laps and then check the situation.”

Quartararo can wrap up the MotoGP Independent riders’ title as long as he avoids conceding 23 points to Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller in the 2019 finale.