Fabio Quartararo says a first podium appearance at home in France feels “amazing” after discovering his tire combination was wrong for the track conditions in the closing stages.
The Yamaha works racer took third place in the checkered flag in the early stages. Quartraro admitted before the race that only a top ten was his goal if the French Grand Prix took place under mixed conditions, the five-time premier class. The winner is convinced of his chances in full wet or dry conditions.
Describing the 27-lap competition as the “strangest race of my life,” Quartararo admitted that his decision to switch to the soft, composite rear tires for his early switch to wet was the wrong one for the increasingly drier track in the finals Half of the encounter but that he was content to hold onto a first podium led in wet conditions.
“To be honest, it was the strangest race of my life because I was in third place and it started to rain. Jack (Miller) and Maverick (Vinales) took it a little cautiously so I thought I would try and do a great overtaking in the chicane, ”said Quartararo.
“It was so difficult because we changed the (wet) bike in the warm-up and although I made a lot of mistakes in the last few laps, I was still there and before that, when I saw there were 20 laps left on that soft tires front and rear and the track was drying, I knew we weren’t in a great position.
“The gap to Taka (Nakagami) was pretty big, but then I saw that it was Johann (Zarco) and he was so fast that I think the tire combination he had from the middle to the end of the race was much better.
“I put a lot of pressure in the end because Bagnaia came so fast that he set the fastest lap of the race, but I managed to hold my first podium in the wet.”
The Frenchman announced that he had briefly forgotten the MotoGP flag-to-flag rules while trying to keep his M1 on course as the rain began to fall after just a few tours before giving him a long lap penalty when he finally stopped for not having moved into his own pit stall but into the pit stable of team-mate Maverick Vinales, he called the race “a great experience” despite the challenges he faced.
“When it started raining a lot, I wondered why there wasn’t a red flag, but then I remembered that we’re in MotoGP and we have a second bike (flag-to-flag rules) and then cornering 9 almost I lost the tail because of the massive difference (grip) so I got in very slowly (in the pits) and I think the others got me really bad, ”continued Quartararo.
“I got in and picked the wrong bike when I almost jumped on Mavericks, but overall it was a great experience and I never expected to get a podium in these conditions. I’m glad we were among the mixed conditions have made a move. “
Quartararo’s result on the podium returned to the points table after main competitor Francesco Bagnaia finished just behind him in fourth place. The former led by just one point over his Ducati opponent, who was driving from Italy to Mugello for the Italian GP in two weeks’ time.
He reckoned the French GP would be “probably better” for him in wet conditions after undergoing arm pump surgery less than two weeks ago after the Spanish GP, and said it felt “so good” on the To stand once more top of the table.
“It feels so good (to lead the championship) because when you think back to Jerez it was a huge shame because I was there to win because I felt so great. It was hard to accept but sometimes these things happen, “added Quartararo.
“We arrived here and immediately in dry FP2 I felt good despite a little pain. It was probably better that we had this type of race where we didn’t have 27 laps to the limit and it feels great to be on the podium after the surgery. “