Petronas Yamaha SRT MotoGP rider Fabio Quartararo admitted it was a surprise to qualifying in the middle of the front row at the Red Bull Ring, a circuit that Yamaha usually struggle at.
The long straights and heavy acceleration zones that make up the Red Bull Ring means that Yamaha have struggled with Johann Zarco’s fifth place finish in 2017, the best of any Yamaha rider at the Austrian circuit.
Despite this, the Frenchman managed to put his satellite M1 in the middle of the front row, describing it as the ‘most special’ of his front row starts in 2019.
“It’s a big surprise to be on the front row,” said the Frenchman.
“We’ve worked a lot this weekend to try to find a good pace with both tyres, with the soft and the medium. The goal was to be on the second or third row, and when I reached the second position I really impressed.
“So, I think it’s the most special front row and second position we have had in qualifying this year.”
Quartararo’s single lap pace has been stronger than his race pace throughout 2019, something the Frenchman wants to rectify as he moves into the second half of his rookie campaign.
When asked what he thinks he can do from the front row during the race, Quartararo said: “I think this race will be the toughest of the season. It’s a track that for the Yamaha doesn’t suit really well.
“But tomorrow is a race where we need to learn from the riders, take experience like Marc said, I think here is a track where we need to manage the tyre and the fuel tank at the beginning of the of the race, so we will give our one hundred percent and enjoy the race.”
Despite being second fastest, Quartararo was nearly half a second behind Marquez’ lap time. Whilst not expecting the World Champion to be half a second a lap quicker in the race, Quartararo is perfectly aware just how strong the Spaniard’s pace is.
“During the weekend that was the gap, from FP1 to qualifying, I could reach under four tenths,” he said.
“Marc everywhere is really fast in this track, like Andrea. So, I gave my one hundred percent and my best, but four tenths is a lot in this track and he make a really fast lap.”