World championship leader Fabio Quartararo spent Sunday's Austrian MotoGP races struggling to stop his Petronas Yamaha, due to a technical problem with the brakes.

The Frenchman dropped from fifth to last place after running wide at Turn 4 on lap 5 of the initial race.

When that was halted due to the huge accident for team-mate Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco, the Sepang squad reacted by changing Quartararo's brakes for race two, which he began from the back of the grid.

But the same problem returned.

Quartararo still managed to rise to eighth place and retain his title lead, now by 11 points over Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso, but is worried for this weekend's second Red Bull Ring outing.

"Really difficult because we had a technical problem during the first race and in the second," Quartararo said of his day.

"In the first race I went straight-on in corner four. The lap before I started to feel a soft brake. My brake was actually [feeling] like a clutch. So I was braking with four fingers trying to stop the bike. It was really dangerous.

"For the second race we decided to change everything. The disc, the calipers, and it was exactly the same.

"Honestly, I was really nervous, because when you arrive into a corner at 300 km/h and you have no brakes, I was more worried about this than everything.

"I was trying to do my best, trying to feel, let’s say, the confidence because sometimes when I was behind the riders for sure I had no brakes.

"When I was a little bit alone, it was okay, but still the confidence is not good."

Quartararo said Sunday's braking problems had been a surprise, which they urgently need to fix for this weekend.

"We had a little problem [like this] in one practice, I think it was in Qatar 2019, when the brake lever was coming a little bit to me. But today in the race, I think the lever of the brake touched the handlebar," he revealed.

"You lose a lot the feeling because you never know when you will have brakes, when you will not.

"Now we need to check. The team is working on it because it’s not possible that during all last year, all this year, and just in the race today I have no brakes for the first time.

"During all the weekend I was braking really, really hard," Quartararo added, when asked if he was perhaps putting the brakes under more strain in the race.

"Maybe something could happen after ten laps [of being] in the slipstream, but not after two laps like in the second race. That’s something we don’t understand.

"Of course our top speed is really low, so we need to attack in a different way. But it was difficult to brake and was way too dangerous.

"I’m worried because next week we have another race here, and I don’t want to ride in the same way.

"The team is looking for a solution. Even me, I’m trying to look for a solution for the brakes, and I know nothing about mechanical issues, but trying to help the team."

Without the issues, Quartararo felt he had the pace for fourth place, which means five points were potentially 'lost'.

"Of course, it’s not a lot but when you check also last year, Binder with Alex Marquez, at the end the championship was won by three points. The five points can change a lot of things," warned the double Jerez winner, underlining his title focus after 4 of 14 rounds.

Quartararo wasn't the only Yamaha rider with technical troubles on Sunday.

Maverick Vinales was left in tenth place after clutch issues and was demoted to third in the world championship standings by Andrea Dovizioso, who took Ducati's first victory of the season and is now 11 points from Quartararo.

"Of course Marc will be a top contender, but actually now I see more Dovi than Maverick for title contender, because we know that Dovi has a lot of experience. He knows how to fight, also he has a kind of bike that is maybe more easy to fight in the last laps," Quartararo said, when asked if Dovi is going to be a stronger competitor for him than Vinales or Marc Marquez, when the world champion returns.

"With Maverick I know that if something happens, we have more or less the same bike so I know that I can fight. But with Dovi, when you have a kind of top speed like this, it’s amazing. Must feel great to be 10k faster than us! So I see more Dovi like a contender."

 

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