Despite being at his MotoGP debut, Fabio Quartararo has already greatly demonstrated what he's made of and, above all, that he's not in awe of anyone. He had already come up against Marquez face to face in a race, the last time in Thailand. Today, the Spanish rider tried to put pressure on him in qualifying. It's a well-known and legitimate game: becoming a shadow during a good lap.
Marc has already used this strategy this season, with Petrucci and Valentino at Misano, and they fired on all cylinders. But he's the one who got the blunt of it with the French rider.
Don't think that Quartararo was upset about it. He actually took it with philosophy and also a touch of pride.
"If Marquez gets behind me to get in the slipstream, that means that I'm doing a good job. In the end, it's part of the game and, maybe, if I get the chance, I'll do the same in the future,” was his seraphic response.
After all, Fabio was the best on the track and we could tell right away, when Marquez wasn't able to keep up with him in the fast lap.
"What was I supposed to do? I couldn't buy too much time," he said. "I needed at least a good lap to start in one of the first two rows."
Except that, when he got on the track with the second tire, the scene repeated itself.
"Yes, Marquez was behind me, but so were many other riders," he shirked any Quartararo controversy. "The problem was that we slowed down a lot when exiting, and the tires cooled down. In the next lap, I had some warning, and I preferred to give it my all in the next one."
The Petronas team rider didn't even notice Marquez's fall.
"I found out later. At one point, I only wanted to push because I wanted this pole position," his 5th of the season and the 12th time he's starting from the front row. "It wasn't easy to get. I also lost the front on the last corner, but I'm very happy to have done it, especially in my team's home race."
Quartararo's season has already been fantastic, but he's not far from it being even more fantastic... with a victory.
"Is this my best chance? We also said it in Thailand, but then Marquez beat me ," he recalled. "I don't underestimate him. He'll be able to get in one of the first positions, just like Dovizioso."
Then he has to be careful of his teammates, starting with Vinales.
"I'd like to battle it out with Maverick. We'll be on the same bike, and I could learn from him," said Fabio, "We'll see what happens, I worked for the race in the FP4, and I already have an idea for the tires. I'm focused on these last two races, then I'll have time to think about next year."
Even his ankle isn't a big problem.
"It hurts when I walk, but it doesn't bother me too much on the bike. However, we'll treat it for the race," he concluded.