Motorsports

Quartararo laments “frustrating” Motegi MotoGP race

Quartararo led the standings by 10 points coming to Japan and leaves with a slightly healthier margin after a disastrous afternoon for his rivals.

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro was only 16th after a mapping issue on the warm-up lap forced him to switch to his second bike, while Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia crashed on the last lap trying to overtake Quartararo.

As a result, Quartararo now leads the championship by 18 points despite struggling to advance on eighth in the race.

While he is happy to have limited the damage in the standings, Quartararo felt he could have challenged for the top five had he been able to overtake more easily.

“With all the circumstances and with what happened, of course I would say it’s better to take eight points than lose eight points,” Quartararo said.

“But it’s good in one way but frustrating in another way because I feel our potential was not to fight with Jack for sure, because he was on another level today.

“But to fight with Marc [Marquez], Miguel [Oliveira was possible]. But I cannot overtake at all, I’m behind and we ride in a totally different way to the other riders.

“I catch up in sector two and three, and in sector four and one I lose so much.

“So, it’s frustrating because I could go faster, but no.

“We did also a few mistakes changing one thing before the race – was not the tyre, but was something that made our pace a little bit slower.”

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Quartararo wouldn’t detail what change didn’t work, but did also admit it was “a mistake” not to try the hard rear tyre at any point this weekend given it proved to be the tyre to win the race on.

The Frenchman also says he could hear Bagnaia crashing behind him on the last lap.

“I didn’t see him but I heard him crash,” Quartararo said.

“So, I think he didn’t crash so far from me. Of course, I saw, and I think the way they ride is really fast and also the hard rear was the correct tyre.

“They made a good job, the few riders who put in this tyre, and of course I knew he was coming.

“But I was struck behind Maverick [Vinales], even if Maverick had a great pace. But I was stuck behind and I couldn’t overtake. So, that was the difficult part.”

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