The upcoming Misano MotoGP double, which starts this weekend, could be crucial for Fabio Quartararo's title hopes.

After starting the season with a perfect pair of victories at Jerez, the Petronas Yamaha rider's results have gone on a downward slide to seventh, eighth and 13th.

With Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso now just three points adrift, Quartararo can't allow that trend to continue and Misano is the perfect place to strike back, having battled Marc Marquez for victory until the final lap last year.

"We need to return to the podium in these next races and achieve a big number of points at a circuit that suits our bike better," Quartararo said.

"The target is to get back the feeling on the bike we had in the first two races in Jerez.

"We fought for the win until the last lap for the first time last year [at Misano], so we will try to repeat this over the next two Sundays."

Marquez will not be present to trouble Quartararo this time around, but rumours persist that Yamaha has been forced to knock some revs from its engines after the early season valve issues.

The M1 was certainly lacking top speed in Austria, but Quartararo can take heart from the fact that he was able to beat all but Marquez last season at Misano despite having 500rpm less - at that time - than the other Yamahas.

That's partly down to the twisty nature of the Italian circuit, a favourite of Quartararo, which has been resurfaced for 2020.

"Misano is one of my favourite circuits because it has a little bit of everything: slow corners, fast corners and switching from left to right," Quartararo said. "I’m curious to see how it works with the new asphalt and if the conditions will have changed a lot since last year.

"It is a very beautiful circuit. It also has my favourite corner from the whole calendar, Curvone. On the back straight you arrive in sixth gear, just roll off, use the brakes a little bit and then full gas as soon as possible. It’s a great corner and I can’t wait to be riding there this weekend."

While Quartararo is one of only three riders (along with Dovizioso and Takaaki Nakagami) to have scored points in all five rounds, team-mate Franco Morbidelli's championship position has been hurt by two DNFs.

The Italian, who celebrated a debut MotoGP podium at Brno, currently sits eleventh in the world championship, 38 points from his team-mate as he heads to his home event – which, for the first time this season, will feature some fans in the grandstands.

"Misano is my home track and so, of course, I like it a lot because of this!" Morbidelli said. "The layout is quite tricky because originally you used to ride it in the opposite direction.

"This has created some unique characteristics and because of this it is very tricky. It’s also quite twisty and narrow. These things also make it a great circuit to ride: I love it!

"It’s a great feeling to have two races coming up at my home circuit and I’m really looking forward to them. In addition, we will have for the first time this season, some fans in the grandstands!

"That’s great news, because it means that is a first small step to normality. It will be great – especially for the Italian riders – to have the public cheering again for us. I hope we can give a good show and a good result!"

Morbidelli finished in fifth place at Misano last season.

 

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