SRT Petronas Yamaha man Fabio Quartararo said that he and his team had set a target of “50 to 90 points” before the season, on the day the Frenchman wrapped up the MotoGP rookie of the year honours in Motegi.
The Frenchman converted his front row start into his sixth podium of what has become a stellar rookie season. Quartararo decided to run the softer rear tyre and after trying to draw in race winner Marc Marquez for the majority of the race, the final five laps saw his rear tyre fade away, leaving him holding onto second place from the challenging Dovizioso.
“We tried in the warmup to compare both tyres (med and soft) and I felt better with the soft, but we say in the team if the temperatures increase a lot we will need to race with the medium,” explained the 20-year-old.
“But I think looking at the pace they had, maybe change a little bit, but not a lot. So, we made the right decision.
“With our bike it’s good to make a gap from the first laps and that’s what we did, but yeah, Marc was super-fast today, I was really on the limit on the first lap to try and follow him, but second place tastes really good.
“I’m really pleased because in Malaysia we set a goal, which was to score between 50-90 points as a rookie, so it’s much higher than we expect.
“I’m really happy for the team, it’s only our first year, so I hope we have this title for the team.”
Today was the third race from four where Marquez has beaten Quartararo, however, this was the first race in which Quartararo has done a number of laps behind the World Champion, with the previous two races seeing Marquez pip the rookie on the final lap.
When asked about what he might’ve learned or pick up from sitting behind Marquez for the whole race, Quartararo said: “Actually the pace of Marc was faster than us this weekend, but I analyse some lines more than what we missed.
“I think for saving the tyres help me a lot, like corner one, during qualifying and practice I was carrying much more speed, but I was going wide and doing the same line as him, and I think it helped us quite a lot to save the tyre.
“So I wasn’t close enough to see exactly what we miss, but it’s true that the acceleration also with the used tyre we struggle a lot, so that’s an important point to improve and another race where we learn to manage the tyre, even if at the end we struggle.”