The last day of testing was not much help for the factory Yamaha riders Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales. Both very fast in the previous days, thanks also to the high level of grip shown by the Losail asphalt during testing, they didn't even go out on the track today. In fact, with all the wind and sand, it was absolutely impossible to carry out tests decently and the intervention of the marshals who tried to clean the asphalt was of little use.
"It was a pity not to do any laps, also because when you are on the track you feel like it - confessed Quartararo, third fastest behind his teammates Vinales and Morbidelli on the second day - but to be honest I can't complain. Even when we were running on the pace we did 1’54.5 which is a very good time. Today above all I would have liked to do a race simulation, but it was not possible, but the other four days of testing were good. Luckily we didn't have much to test anymore and the important thing is that I know which bike I'll start with in FP1 for the first Grand Prix ”.
Everything is OK, then? An optimistic Quartararo? Not entirely. Asked to give his opinion on the opportunity to bet on him, he shied away…
“You can bet what you want, it's your money - he joked - but I suggest you wait for Saturday night after the pole. I have a good pace, but we have to stay focused because testing is one thing and the race is another. Then we have only tested on this circuit, but luckily after Losail we should be racing at Portimao, a track where we struggled last year and so we will be able to learn something. However, I think we could do better than 2020, even if we cannot be 100% sure that everything is okay ”.
Something is worrying Fabio. Could it be the critical aspect of top speed, the strong point of the Ducatis shown by his compatriot Johann Zarco who reached 357.6 km/h at the end of the straight?
“On this track, which has long straights, of course – was Quartararo's response - but at Jerez and Le Mans, for example, we will find a different situation. We don't have to think about the Ducati's higher speed, we mustn’t lose focus ”.
Fabio means that it is better to think about their strengths: road holding, handling, which the Yamaha expresses best between Turn 7 and Turn 13. In fact, in that segment of the track the M1 is ahead of the GP21.
"Let's take the Suzuki as well - Fabio pointed out - last year they were competitive on all circuits, but at the moment none of us can make any predictions. As for me, I did about 200 laps here, so I think I have prepared well for the race”.
We remind him that it will be his first as a factory rider…
“Being a factory rider is a huge responsibility. Vinales and I have to develop the bike, and he's more used to it than I am because he's been in this situation for six years. For me it is stranger to stop and have all these engineers around listening to my every word. And every word spoken is very important, for this reason it is necessary to measure your words and to say only the right ones ".
Both he and his team-mate have tried their hand at numerous test starts to solve the problem of being slow in the early laps that in 2020 cost them several positions. Actually, however, Fabio is not necessarily over-complaining about the situation.
“I don't think I had any clutch problems - he admits - more than anything else it was my problem in knowing how to use it. This is why I have tried several times”.
Fabio Quartararo will now return home before the Grand Prix. And he did not want to comment on the opportunity to get vaccinated against Covid, which he had also caught.