SRT Petronas Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo admitted that he is a little short on race pace despite ending the opening day of the final weekend of 2019 fastest overall in Valencia.
The Frenchman has enjoyed a stellar rookie campaign that has already seen him crowned rookie of the year and arriving in Valencia with almost an insurmountable lead over Jack Miller in the independent team standings. However, the one thing Quartararo will be looking to complete his rookie season is standing on the top step of the podium.
Topping the morning FP1 session, Quartararo doubled down on his advantage through free practice, topping the afternoon session by 0.148 seconds from Yamaha stable-mate Maverick Vinales. Quartararo said that he is perfectly aware that his single lap pace is a strength and that he is still a little short in race pace.
“It feels good to make such an improvement from one year ago at the test when I was in seventeenth,” said the 20-year-old.” It shows our progress and it’s a reward for our effort, and we’ll continue to work in the same way going forward.
“We know that time attacks are one of our strengths, but we’re not quite there yet on race pace. We need to work on the bike and find a good strategy to improve tomorrow.”
When asked about how he intended on increase his race pace, Quartararo said that he will study Vinales’ data, despite being a track he has always struggled at.
“It is a tough track for me, but we’re working hard to be as fast as possible,” he said.
“We’ll see the data of Maverick and lap-by-lap on his pace and see where he is much faster than us. We’re not far away, but we’ll try our best tonight to find the issues and fix them.”