Sixth place on Sunday in the race at Aragon did not reflect the potential shown by Franco Morbidelli in all the practice sessions of the Alcaniz weekend. The race could have been a sort of Yamaha family fight, but in the end Quartararo faded rapidly, Vinales finished just off the podium and the Italian had to settle for a disappointing sixth place.
"Last weekend at Aragon was interesting - commented Morbidelli - we were fast and it seemed like it could be a private affair between me, Maverick and Fabio. In any case, in the race none of us was at the same level as what we saw in the previous sessions. For this weekend it will be interesting to see what our level in practice can be, perhaps trying to keep it even in the race. The idea is to see what the level can be for everyone on Friday on the track and then adjust our work schedule!”
It seems that this time it is warmer and that the weather is more stable. Could this be an advantage for the Yamaha riders?
"The weather is more stable? It's actually raining right now! I don't know if it will actually be more stable, but if it is, it will certainly be good for everyone. You enter an unknown area, this is MotoGP. You can't predict too many things, it's just a matter of reacting as quickly as possible. We have to be good at making a program and then respect it in the race ".
What changed things on track on Sunday compared to the previous days, what made you so much worse?
"In my opinion it wasn't us who got worse, but the others who improved a lot in the race. The feeling in the race was very similar to that of FP4, we lost pace in the race but not much. Instead the others, those who lost a lot in FP4, were able to lap more consistently and also to be much faster at times. So it's not just us. The others did a great job in the race, we didn't. "
Vinales said that in trying to improve the M1, it's easy to lose your way...
"I agree with what Vinales said. Sometimes when we try to work on the weak points with our bike, we end up losing our way and not even being able to exploit the strong points of the M1. The strong points of this bike are the ones that allow us to be really fast, we can't risk losing those benchmarks. After that we would be totally lost. The point here is to be fast, it doesn’t matter how"
You only have two engines left for four races. Are you worried?
"I was worried about Yamaha's reliability and talked to the engineers about it. They assured me that we will be able to finish the season with the engines we have, without any problems. We only have two engines at this point, but we have no longer had any reliability problems, so I think we will finish the championship without problems with these two engines. "
But does this change your approach in any way?
"No, this doesn't change anything in my approach to riding. I don't think about it, while you're on the bike you can't think about it. I just think about going as fast as I can."
What did you think when Alex Marquez passed you in the race and went away?
"I got angry at that moment, but not because it was Alex who overtook me. Only because I was losing positions. I was having a hard time overtaking Fabio and when I passed him I gained a position and immediately after I lost it to Marquez, so that's what made me angry. After another two or three laps Alex started to get away from me, so I felt like I was getting punched from all sides. But I was happy for Alex, he had some problems early in the season but in the end it seems that he has the pace, he has found a way to set the bike up for his style. Now he is fast. I knew that he has a very particular way of riding, now he has understood how to manage the bike and here are the results ".
Do you think that in 2021, now everyone knows these tyres better, there will be fewer ups and downs?
"In my opinion these ups and downs will always be there because I don't think they are due to the tyre, but rather to the fact that the level of MotoGP is very high today. You can't arrive at a race in a less than perfect way, you just need nothing to find yourself behind. If you’re not at 100%, you lose a lot of positions. I don't think the balance of this championship is due to the tyres, but to the level of the championship itself. "
There is so much fatigue in the paddock, this compressed world championship is tough for everyone. Are you afraid that human error can increase, perhaps by mechanics who are under too much stress. On Sunday it seems that Quartararo had problems due to human error?
"Human error is always around the corner, precisely because we are human. It may be that with all this overload of work, mistakes can be made more easily. I don't think it was our team that made a mistake last week with Fabio's bike. To know what happened, it would be better to talk to him. I don't think the team made a mistake, but you are right when you say that the more you work, even with very short deadlines, the more you risk making mistakes " .
But if in your opinion it was not a human error that conditioned Quartararo's race, weren't you surprised that he remained so calm at the end of the race?
"I don't know what went through Fabio's mind at that moment, but looking at FP4 you can see that after a few laps he was starting to struggle. He was the worst placed out of the three Yamahas, after six or seven laps he was struggling more. In my opinion that, plus the problem he had with the front tyre, created the condition that did not allow him to perform at his best. In my opinion it was not just an external problem that ruined his performance, this is my analysis of what happened to him on Sunday. "