One week before the Portuguese Grand Prix, Fabio Quartararo was looking for redemption at Termas de Rio Hondo, where the MotoGP is busy this weekend. However, the start of the Argentine Grand Prix was anything but satisfactory for the Yamaha rider, who at the end of Friday is only 14th in the combined standings.
The 15th and 14th positions of the two sessions did not allow the rider from Nice to gain direct access to Q2, therefore in tomorrow’s qualifying he will also be forced to compete in the first phase. Not an easy start to the weekend for El Diablo, who finds himself battling with an indomitable Yamaha, while his teammate Franco Morbidelli has gained direct access to the decisive qualifying phase.
“The worst thing is that the feeling isn’t bad, but there are many problems with the rear, especially the corner speed is not there”, Quartararo explained at the end of Friday’s free practice. “I feel stiff on the bike, I don’t ride normally, so we need to understand why. The problem is that the pace is always good, but today, apart from the first run in FP2 where it was better, it has always been bad. We didn’t have any speed today and that’s the problem.”
El Diablo also pays duty from his teammate, who grabbed the top 10 and did better than the Frenchman today: “It’s not usual to be behind Morbidelli, so we need to understand what’s happening. I don’t know why we are so far away and I feel so bad on the bike. We haven’t changed much on the bike, but I feel like this is not my bike. At the moment it is worse than last year. When you don’t know why you go so slow, it’s the worst situation.”
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“Morbidelli faster? We can verify something, but in the end there’s not that much difference. Obviously it was faster, and what we can take, we will take. But it’s more than a tenth, it’s more about feeling with the bike. We arrived from Portimao, where we had tested and tried many things, but today was much worse. There qualifying had gone badly, but the pace was to fight for the top 5. Not here at the moment”, acknowledges Quartararo.
The 2021 world champion feels he doesn’t have the weapons to fight and what he considers inexplicable is not understanding where the problem is: “It’s difficult, because I’ve never had this problem. We usually lose a little under braking because we take off the engine brake and are a little more free on the rear. Today, on the other hand, we went more freely with the engine braking to have more cornering speed, but the problem was more or less the same. The rear has no grip and we basically have no speed through the corners, so I try to open the throttle a little more aggressively, but there is no grip and so I ride even more. So, having no cornering speed at this track is even worse, because even when you pick up the tire it keeps spinning.”
Upon returning to the garage after the second free practice session, Quartararo was decidedly disappointed and it is the Yamaha rider himself who confirmed it at the end of the first day of the Argentine Grand Prix: “I expected much more, to be honest, because if check last year in the warm-up we had one of the highest pace. I was lapping in 38, I did the same time with 18 laps with the tyre. I don’t understand why we are so slow”.
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