Fabio Quartararo was able to grit his teeth and defend his championship lead on the Misano track today. Surrounded by the Ducatis he kept his nerve and duelled first with Martin, who crashed, then with Miller, whom he overtook. He then found himself chasing Bagnaia in a state of grace alone from mid-race, who did not make any wrong moves, after accumulating an advantage in the early stages of the race thanks to the soft rear. The Frenchman in the race for the title did not let himself be intimidated however and he gnawed tenths after tenths of a second, lap after lap, but it was not enough to catch the Italian and so he finished with a precious second place.
Right from the start of the race, Fabio found himself fighting in the midst of the Ducatis, but he still managed to get a fantastic result, especially considering the championship. This was perhaps one of his best races ever.
“Of course, a victory is totally different, but I think it’s the first time I’m that happy for a second place – not because about the championship, but because I gave everything. In the beginning with Jack, with Martin, I was fighting against them like it was the last lap and I overtook Jack in a place where I never expected to overtake someone. On the last lap I was a little bit too far from Pecco because in Turns 4 and 5, Pecco was a bit stronger than Jack and I wanted to overtake in Turn 6 but I was too far and I had a lot of spin. And then in sector three, he was like on a time attack on the last lap of the race. The lean angle he had on Turn 12, I said, ‘OK, it’s the moment to keep calm’. This was a really nice race and that I enjoyed the most.”
In fact, maintaining a clear head in a race when you have such a large margin in the championship is not easy, yet for the whole championship this year the young French rider has managed to administer the races in the right way while continuing to always push to the limit, and even in the races where he didn't make it onto the podium, he has always come damn close.
“Today to be honest I had three, four moments where I was close to being on the ground - continued El Diablo - One moment with Jack, where he went wide, I went wide too. I lost the front totally, so Pecco took a big advantage. When I was trying to follow Pecco at Turn 2, Turn 3 and Turn 13 I was full on the limit, and honestly, it’s like this that I’m enjoying to ride. And when I was catching Pecco a little bit, the team was telling me I was catching him a little bit – 2.7s, 2.6s, 2.3s – and it motivated me. To catch Pecco was one thing, to overtake was another story and he’s really precise on his lines and I couldn’t make nothing.”
How did you feel today surrounded by all those Ducatis at the start of the race?
"It wasn't easy, racing on a Yamaha, if I had to overtake another Yamaha it would be an ‘equal’ challenge, but with the Ducatis it's different. With Pecco above all it was a real push and pull, in some sectors I was able to get close and then immediately afterwards he shot away. For sure the Ducati has its strengths but today he had something that the other riders did not show. Maybe I too would have liked to have the same support in Yamaha that he had today from Ducati, but from next week there will be tests so we will continue to work with the team on the bikes as well. We have some difficulties in overtaking, while in the changes of direction the bike is very competitive ".
How important was strategy in the choice of the medium rear tyre?
"It is true that with a soft, which was the choice of the Ducatis, you could have attacked more in the early stages of the race, but personally I had a better feeling with the medium since the morning. We had also tried the soft compound but in the end we opted for the medium in view of the final stages of the race ".
With your podium today, the nineteenth, you have also become the most successful French rider of all time.
"Not bad for a Frenchman! – Fabio jokingly replied - obviously I'm happy, it's a good thing, but I'm not going to stop here. I'll raise the bar a lot more".
We also saw you looking at Enea's front tyre, what were you looking at?
"Of course I am not a technician, but it is always interesting to compare tyre wear based on different riding styles of other riders. In his case he was also one of the fastest riders today in the race so I had one more reason to be curious."