Quartararo reaches goal, braking aims for Qatar

MotoGP rookie Fabio Quartararo is pleased with overall performance at Sepang; “The goal was to be under the 2m 0s. We reached our goal.”
Quartararo reaches goal, braking aims for Qatar

It was a case of expectations met for Fabio Quartararo at the first MotoGP test of 2019, as the class rookie “reached his goal” in terms of lap time, and could reflect on his first race simulation aboard a 270bhp machine.

The Frenchman posted the 16th quickest time on Friday, his 1m 59.4s effort comfortably under 2m 0s, the goal he had set himself prior to the three-day outing.

And Quartararo’s race run on Friday afternoon gave an indication of how his 2019 spec M1 behaves over 20 laps. While pleased with his speed, the one-time Moto2 race winner noted how his feeling in heavy braking zones must improve before race one.

“Well this morning we tried to make a time attack,” he said. “We made a good lap. When you see the lap of the front guys it was really fast, but for sure we can be happy with our lap time.

“The goal was to be under the 2m 0s. We reached our goal. We did a race simulation in the hardest condition, with 60 degrees on track. I did 18 laps. So I’m happy with our work today.”

It was a positive test for Quartararo, who had a 2019-spec Yamaha for the three days. The machine that he will use throughout the season has less revs than team-mate Franco Morbidelli, and doesn’t feature Ohlin’s carbon forks.

Nonetheless, the news represents a significant investment from Yamaha, and is a feather in the cap for Quartararo, who was singled out by Cal Crutchlow as the rider most likely to win this year’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ crown.

On improvements going forward, Quartararo said, “Well for sure we struggle a lot in the braking part. The last corner and last sector, we lost a lot. In the first we are quite fast but we need to work – the braking point is OK – on going into the corner, is where we struggle a lot.

“With Franco we checked the data there is almost 0.3s in one corner. That’s really positive for Qatar because that’s, let’s say, easy time. It’s something to get used to.

“For sure we want to be faster at the end of the race. But I think for the first race simulation it was quite good. The last lap was a 2m 1.5s. I made a lot of mistakes so it could have been a good lap time.

“Normally the average was a 2m 1s low. That’s quite good because the track temperature was 60 degrees. I exited at 2pm. So that was really hot.

“After the race simulation we spoke with the team and we said that we would focus on the braking point, the last corner. With old tyres we improved one tenth every lap, which is quite good.

“But still we need to improve because we know that the first corner of Qatar is really big. You arrive fast. That will be an important point to arrive there.

“I played a lot with the electronics in my race simulation. With old tyres at the end of the simulation, it was quite difficult to ride the bike. We reduced a lot the power and this is maybe one of the weakest points of the bike.”