Quartararo: Having fun, going fast

Rookie MotoGP star Fabio Quartararo third fastest at Le Mans: 'I'm enjoying my home GP; I don't feel like I'm under pressure and I'm having fun'
Quartararo: Having fun, going fast

MotoGP rookie star Fabio Quartararo showed no signs of pressure as he rose to the occasion during his home premier-class debut at Le Mans on Friday.

On pole at the previous Jerez round, only to be denied a podium chance by a broken gearshifter, Quartararo picked up where he left off at the post-race test by putting his Petronas Yamaha at the top of FP1.

The pace increased in the afternoon but the 20-year-old responded by cutting a quarter of a second from his best lap for a close third place, 0.285s behind factory Yamaha's Maverick Vinales with Honda title leader Marc Marquez in between.

"Today was really good," Quartararo smiled. "The pace was also good, we need to keep working on that for tomorrow but overall it's been really positive. We made a fast lap time in the morning and also this afternoon.

"At first it was a bit difficult, because the braking reference in FP1 was somewhat tricky, but that was something that went a little better in FP2. I'm happy overall.

"We worked on our pace today, and while we still have to improve things, I feel good on the bike and I'm satisfied. Tomorrow we will continue working on what will be an important day, and we'll see what the weather is like.

"I think this track is good for the Yamaha; we saw Viñales go really fast today. I'm enjoying my home GP; I don't feel like I'm under pressure and I'm having fun with the fans."

Should the Saturday weather forecast prove correct, it will be another new experience for Quartararo:

"For sure it will be really difficult if it rains for qualifying because it will be my first time. We'll do our best."

While Quartararo is still using the older Yamaha wings, team-mate Franco Morbidelli now has the newer version used since the start of the year by Vinales.

The Italian finished the day in eleventh (+0.811s).

"In general, today has been a positive day. We felt comfortable with the medium tyre and I had a good feeling overall. When we tried the soft tyre, the feeling wasn't what I expected and I started to skid out slightly with the front," Morbidelli said.

"We will try to understand what happened and improve it for tomorrow. We need to continue working on making improvements, but in general our pace is good."

Both riders also sent their condolences to the family of the marshal who died of a heart attack at the track this morning.

"It has been very sad news for everybody," Quartararo said.

"Marshals always do a very important task during each Grand Prix and riders and teams must always thank them for their hard work," added Morbidelli.