What is the first thing Fabio Quartararo did once he arrived at the parc fermé? "I went to take a photo with Valentino," he confessed. The best way to celebrate an all-Yamaha hat-trick at the Jerez track. That shot portrays two generations of riders and also a sort of handover given that the Frenchman and the Doctor will exchange teams next year.
"The first MotoGP race that I remember seeing was here at Jerez - recalled Fabio - the one in which Valentino won by giving Gibernau a shoulder at the last corner. It gave me the motivation to get to MotoGP and I'm happy to be on the podium with Vale ".
That was 2005 and the Doctor won the title at the end of the season. Now it is Quartararo who is aiming for the laurels and he has started in the best possible way, with maximum points after two races and Marquez out of the hunt. Petronas' Frenchman, however, is not worried about Marc’s return.
“I have won twice and when he is on the track, I will want to do the same - he said - I don't have to prove anything to him, nor he to me. He is an 8-time world champion, God forbid. "
Today he showed that he could repeat his winning feat and manage a race in the lead from start to finish.
"It was an incredible and very difficult GP - he explained - At one point I looked at how many laps were left at the end, there were 12, I was only halfway through the race and my hands were on fire".
He also had some concerns before the start.
“I was tense for the start - he revealed - the holeshot system did not work on Friday and in these weekends every time I tried the start it was a disaster, I looked like I was on a Moto3 bike. The team told me to be calm because last weekend in practice it was always going well and badly in the race, I should do the opposite. I did it and I'm very happy, like the way I managed the race. "
Perfectly, it has to be said…
"There were strange conditions, different from those of last Sunday - continued Fabio - I suffered a drop in the front tyre, it was one of the most difficult races of my career. When you have an advantage over those who follow you, you think you can slow down, but it is at that moment that you can make a mistake. Last year I learned to be more focused and I'm happy that I did that".
Now maybe it’s time to start to think about the World Championship...
"It is too early, for now there are a lot of us in contention: Marc will return at Brno, Maverick is fast, then there’s Dovizioso and Valentino is back on the podium. There are a lot of rivals, it would be better if there weren’t so many, "he concluded with a smile.
Maverick Vinales: "two perfect races at Jerez, I couldn't have done more"
There was also a smile on the face of Maverick Vinales, despite being once again defeated in the battle with his future teammate. Also this time the Spaniard was missing a little something to be able to fight for the victory.
"I couldn't have done more - he confessed - I made a mistake at the final corner of the first lap when, to try to pass Fabio, I let Valentino pass. I could not pass him because he braked hard and I was struggling with the heat when I was behind him, I also found it hard to breathe and the temperature of the tyres increased. I had to change my strategy. "
Two laps from the end, the attack succeeded…
"I gave everything for second place - continued Maverick - It was important to do it for the championship and I did it. Going away from Jerez with two second places is perfect for me because I have always struggled at this track. I'm ready for Brno, my motivation is high. "
As for the problems the Yamaha have had, with Morbidelli stopping today and Rossi last Sunday, Vinales said:
"I too had a problem in FP3, I heard a strange noise coming from the engine and I immediately stopped in the pits. Then I didn't have any more trouble, but Franco and Valentino did. We will have to solve any problems, because the engines will be under a lot of stress in the next two races, at Brno and the Red Bull Ring ".