Fabio Quartararo has credited a ‘big step’ during FP4 with reckoning he has the pace now to fight for a third MotoGP win in a row ahead of the Czech Republic MotoGP in Brno.

The Frenchman missed out on a third consecutive pole position by three tenths of a second after failing to get the best from his the Petronas SRT Yamaha on his first run, before ending his hopes of overhauling countryman Johann Zarco when he slid off at the final corner complex on his second attempt.

While Quartararo says its unlikely he’d have made up the time he needed due to the significant tyre degradation between lap one and lap two, he was otherwise happy with the front row start on a day his perceived main rivals Maverick Vinales and Andrea Dovizioso could only manage fifth and 18th respectively.

“The main goal was to be on the front row. The first tyre was quite good but when you miss the first lap on the tyre, you know the second one you won’t make the same lap time. I did my best on my second lap but it was not enough and I pushed a little bit too much. I took some bumps in Turn 13, a small crash,

“I expected Jack [Miller] and Andrea to be faster, they seem to be struggling, but we know the Yamaha is quick in every track. On one lap pace the bike is going well and the Tarmac and the bumps, the condition is difficult so we know that if we miss the first lap on the tyre, we know the second one will be two or three tenths slower. [However] We know we have the pace to fight for victory.”

Indeed, though Quartararo was indifferent about his form after Friday, a big change in set-up during FP4 has left him much more confident ahead of the race.

“In FP4 we made a big step and now I can feel where the limit is. I pushed too hard on the brakes in qualifying but we know the feeling. I am happy about the job today.

“In FP4 we made a big step and I just need to focus on myself. If they [rivals] are struggling, it could happen to us so we need to make the benefit of it and make the best race we can. I have a good feeling with the bike and we will try to manage many points to bring it home.”