Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales have once more dismissed the notion a potential MotoGP title win in 2020 is diminished by the absence of an injured Marc Marquez, pointing out injury by his own error is an enduring factor in this sport for all.
Quartararo comes into the Czech Republic MotoGP in Brno as the rider to beat after two immensely impressive wins in Jerez, a maximum haul of points achieved in the shadow of Marquez being unable to score after injuring himself in round one.
With the Repsol Honda rider out of this weekend’s race too, all eyes are on Quartararo to see whether he can translate that pace into success at Brno, a venue that isn’t expected to suit the Petronas SRT Yamaha M1 quite so favourably.
“Of course, I think Jerez is a track that was a little bit better for us, but for me the Yamaha goes well at every track. It’s true this track has a lot of straights, but a lot of corners [too]. Our bike is turning well, we are missing a bit of power but we can’t have everything, so we will make our best, the same mentality.
A rider that been elevated among the MotoGP title favourites despite never coming close to challenging for the crown in Moto2 or Moto3, Quartararo insists he is taking his newfound status race-by-race.
“Right now, I am not thinking about the championship, it’s only our third race of the season so I am taking it race-by-race, I think that’s so important. I have never been in this situation at this level but I don’t think it is the correct way to think about the championship, so just thinking about this I feel the same as before so the pressure is none.”
With HRC boss Alberto Puig stirring things a little again today by saying ‘guys that had no chance maybe now they have some chance’, Quartararo shrugged it off saying a title win without Marquez present for all races is simply part of the game.
“We all start in Jerez 100% and in the end this is a sport with a lot of risk, we can get injured in these races or Austria. For me the championship is the same, with Marc or without, you have to fight for what you want and we are working in the same way whether Marc is here or not. The championship is the same, of a top rider is not racing with us but of course for me it will be the same.”
It’s a view shared by Yamaha counterpart Vinales, who says all riders began the season in the same position, but ultimately it was Marquez that injured himself after making his own mistake.
“Marc is very strong and it’s hard to beat him so it makes the championship interesting, but if he was here it’d make it interesting because we want to beat all the riders on track.
“But we all start in Jerez with 0 points and we go on. Sometimes you have good luck, bad luck or big crashes, but this year it is like that and we face it like that, we face it with the same mentality as the first race.”