Quartararo bets on cues from Morbidelli to revive podium hopes - The Race
MotoGP

Quartararo bets on cues from Morbidelli to revive podium hopes

Sep 11 2021
By Valentin Khorounzhiy

MotoGP points leader Fabio Quartararo says he will be taking cues from his former and future team-mate Franco Morbidelli in trying to improve for the Aragon race, as he feels he’s lacking pace for a podium challenge.

Quartararo qualified third for the 2021 Aragon GP, having been among the top three in the first, second and third sector – but the absolute slowest of all the Q2 participants in the final sector.

Sector four at Aragon includes its long back straight of nearly 1km, and most of the shorter main straight, so it stands to reason Quartararo’s Yamaha would lose out there – given straight-line speed is not one of its strong suits.

However, Quartararo is also convinced he’s doing something wrong in the sector’s only real corner, the long sweeping left-hander marked as Turns 16 and 17 – which contributes to him not even being the quickest Yamaha in the sector.

“Sector four is a sector that, okay, the Yamaha is not that great but I’m doing something wrong on the last corner, too, so I think it’s a combination of everything that I’m really slow on that sector,” Quartararo explained.

“But we will see, we always tried something in FP2, FP3, FP4, and the base of FP2 was a little bit better so tomorrow morning we will go on the base setting and I will try to work on my riding style on the last corner.”

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When asked what was it about Turns 16 and 17 that made his life difficult, he said: “It’s the kind of corner that we struggle a lot with the Yamaha, a little bit like Sachsenring, like really long corners, we miss a lot of turning in the first part and we need to be really aggressive and it’s something that is difficult to me to do.

“Also Turn 10 {a long downhill left-hander] I managed to get a little bit better but I don’t feel great.

“So tomorrow I will try something a little bit different. I check with Franco, last year he was doing something really great, and I will try to do it tomorrow morning, to check if it’s possible.

“But I’m struggling a lot on this kind of corners.”

Morbidelli, currently out as he recovers from knee surgery, won the second of the two Aragon races last year.

His fastest time in the fourth sector during that weekend was middle-of-the-road relative to the rest of the grid, but he was on a year-old Yamaha that was in theory less adept on the straights than the factory-spec bikes, which would’ve therefore hindered his pace in the sector.

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Quartararo, who has finished no higher than fifth at Aragon in three attempts in MotoGP so far, was eighth in the FP4 session dedicated to race simulations and admitted he wasn’t convinced his current pace was enough for a podium challenge.

Though he maintains a hefty 65-point lead in the standings, this is therefore due to take a hit at Aragon, with the Ducatis, in particular, looking stronger than expected.

“I have not really a clear goal for tomorrow, I want to have fun. Of course, would be great to fight for the podium, but to be honest I don’t feel I have enough pace.

“So, I will try to manage the best result as possible, and I will try to stay with the front guys and fight until the end, but right now I feel that at least we need to make a step in the warm-up, to be able to fight for the podium tomorrow, so let’s hope for an improvement in the warm-up.”

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