MotoGP Austria: ‘Not easy but great potential’ - Quartararo

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo was surrounded by Ducatis as he sat fourth in Friday’s MotoGP practice times in Austria.

The reigning champion’s 1’29.877 best effort in a dry FP2, after a morning hampered by rain, was just 0.04s shy of Pramac’s Johann Zarco in the incredibly close afternoon session. The Bologna bikes locking out the remainder of the top eight as just three-tenths covered the fastest eleven riders.

“I found it tough, of course, but the pace is looking good,” Quartararo said of the opening day at the Red Bull Ring. “In one lap we have a little bit of margin but it’s true that we set those laps riding alone. In a group it’s different. It’s a shame that we had some yellow flags, and we weren’t faultless today. I set my fastest lap on lap three or four with the soft rear tyre, so I think we have a bit of a margin to improve.

“Of course, being in between seven Ducatis is not the best place to be,” he continued before joking, “we can call it ‘the Italian sandwich’. Anyway, I feel like we have a great potential but let’s see, because we are always great on Friday, and the Ducatis always make a big step on Saturday and Sunday so is not going to be easy.

“This new chicane in sector one is much better. It makes it slightly easier, although the chicane feels smaller on the bike than when you walk the track, but that’s okay for us. Maybe a little bit more easy on riding style because, you know, arriving to turn three was really difficult. We needed to be super precise to brake so now arriving to turn three is much easier to don’t make a mistake because you arrive much slower. But yeah, I think is not worse or better for Ducati, but for us, I think is a bit better.

“This morning was not so great,” he said of his FP1 performance in wet conditions. “I was not too bad, but I think we missed a little bit our setting this morning. But I think is quite clear because it’s a step that we did in Portimao. On Friday, we were P20 and in Saturday, P3, so I think is something that I don’t need to worry of.

“We have to be really quick on Saturday,” he said of his qualifying prospects, “because in the race we start from first gear and the Ducatis on the uphill they are quite fast, but like always, I’m giving my 100 per cent and I’m giving my best to be there. I’m on the limit, I’m pushing myself to the limit. It won’t be an easy job for me tomorrow, but I feel we have good potential.”