Fabio Quartararo's perfect start to the 2020 MotoGP season came to an end with a subdued seventh place in the Czech Republic Grand Prix.

Petronas Yamaha's double Jerez winner was in trouble from the third corner on Sunday, experiencing the 'most difficult race of his MotoGP career' as he slipped backwards from an early second place behind team-mate Franco Morbidelli.

"It was really tough," Quartararo admitted. "When you come from winning two races in a row by 5-secounds you want to be up there, fighting for the victory again.

"This weekend I did not have the same pace as Jerez, but we made a big step in FP4 and I was really happy because that made me believe I could fight for the podium.

"But from the third corner of the race when I had a big slide from the rear, I knew that the potential of the rear tyre was really bad and it was difficult to manage.

"It was also difficult to stay calm because when Rins, Vale, Oliveira overtook me I couldn’t do anything. I couldn't fight with them. It was the most difficult race of my career in MotoGP.

"There are races where you can't follow but you know why, now we need to analyse well the why. In FP4 we made a huge step forward. But for the race we made two steps backwards.

"So, difficult to accept this kind of result, but I was on the limit from lap 1 to 21 and I think it's quite good to score 9 points in this kind of situation. I know that last year I would have pushed more and maybe crashed.

"Now we need to see where the problem was and tomorrow my crew chief and engineers will check a lot of data. I think we did a few mistakes during the weekend but not huge like we finished in this kind of position.

"But also we saw that many riders struggled – like Maverick, like Dovi, like Jack – and I'm happy for the team for their first podium with Franco today."


2 days at Brno testing just before the start of the championship! @ktmfactoryracing

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KTM sensationally won the race with rookie Brad Binder, a performance hailed by Quartararo.

But the Frenchman also felt that a recent private Brno test with Dani Pedrosa had given the Austrian factory a headstart for this weekend.

"Brad made an unbelievable race," Quartararo said. "He deserved a lot his seat in a factory team and also he's a rookie - but today it looks like he had ten years' experience on the bike. Big congratulations to him because he did an amazing race.

"I think KTM did a lot of testing at Brno and Austria and I think also Michelin worked with them to see the correct tyre for this race.

"So I think before starting the weekend they [KTM] already knew which tyre was the perfect one for the race and Michelin I think brought the correct tyres from when they did the test. So they had a lot of experience already before the Grand Prix.

"Honestly, I think KTM was the strongest this weekend. Like I said they did a lot of tests, also Michelin was believing that was the best tyre. Of course, it was the best tyre for them!"

But that didn't explain the difference between Quartararo and team-mate Morbidelli, who finished seven-seconds ahead, as runner-up to Binder.

"During last year Franco was let's say, not burning, but using a little bit more tyre than me. So it's really strange that from FP1 Franco had an unbelievable pace and he was there to fight for the victory.

"But on riding style we were really similar, I was even pushing a little bit less on acceleration. But my tyre drop was much bigger than his drop. So not easy to understand.

"Every time we come to Brno it's a strange situation. It's a nice track but every year the tarmac is getting worse. We are riding on a motocross track!"

Despite the tough race, Quartararo still managed to increase his title advantage over nearest rivals Maverick Vinales and Andrea Dovizioso to 17 and 28 points respectively heading into next weekend's first Red Bull Ring race.

"We know that in Austria KTM have done a lot of testing too. And not only with Dani [Pedrosa]. So we need to be careful, we will need to be really smart to try to make a lot of points," he said.

"Let's see the weather forecast also because it looks like it's a little bit raining, sun, cloudy. I'll be happy to be back on the bike and it's a track I love so can't wait to be there.

"Then after the two Austrian races we have 'our' races, which are Misano, Barcelona and Le Mans…"