Le Mans MotoGP: Quartararo: When Joan passed me, I said ‘no way’ | MotoGP

MotoGP title contenders Fabio Quartararo, Joan Mir and Maverick Vinales fought tooth and nail in the final lap of the French Grand Prix.

Crash MotoGP Podcast – Click here to hear Keith Huewen, Harry Benjamin and our very own Pete McLaren MotoGP talk

But the prize to be won wasn’t a race win or even a podium.

Instead, the trio fought for valuable points for ninth place, which ultimately went 0.2 seconds ahead of Vinales in favor of Quartararo, while Mir was just 0.085 seconds behind at the end of a wet and wild Le Mans race.

“This fight for ninth place was like a fight for victory!” Quartararo smiled. “It was fun and everyone gave 100%.

“Some people said that nobody wants to win this championship, but we’ve shown that everyone wants to win it!”

Related articles

Quartararo started the race from pole position, but it quickly became clear that the Yamahas were nowhere near as competitive in the wet as they had been in the dry.

Quartararo struggled to get heat in the rear tires, dropping to eleventh place before stopping his decline and, helped by mistakes by some of the leaders, led a four-way battle with Stefan Bradl, Mir and Vinales on the final lap.

Related articles

Bradl escaped, but when Quartararo’s next title rival made a pass to Mir, the Petronas driver had to react.

“I think it’s the first time in a race that I’ve thought about the championship,” said Quartararo. “When Joan passed me, I said ‘no way’. I can’t finish without trying something.

“I braked so hard at Turn 9 and overtook him, pushed him a bit far, but I was also wide because I was over the limit. It was pretty fun, I’d rather finish at the front, but that was one great overtaking maneuvers “.”

Vinales followed Quartararo and the Frenchman was able to get two points on Mir and extend his title lead to 10 points with five races remaining.

“I thought Dovi won today … Then I checked again”

More good news followed for the World Cup leader as he looked up at the television screens in the slow lap.

“Honestly, when I crossed the finish line, I was happy to finish ahead of Joan and Maverick, but then I looked at the screen and saw that a Red had won. I said, ‘Dovi won today so he’s coming much closer ‘.

“But then I checked again and it was Petrucci and I said, ‘Oh, that’s good!’ Then I looked at second place, it was Alex, third place was Pol.

“Alex was extremely fast today and he deserves the podium. I’m really happy for him, for Petrucci and for Pol because they finished ahead of Dovi! I think this is great news for us!”

“It could have been worse for our first race in the rain. It’s been a really strange year and I’m looking forward to continuing to lead the championship.”

Me, ten points behind Quartararo but eight ahead of Dovizioso, gave a similar verdict “could be worse”.

“I think we both do [Quartararo and I] had a bad race, “said the Suzuki rider.” Neither of us were in the position people expected us to be. It was okay because in dry conditions, [Quartararo] had a little more than anyone else so he had a chance to win today.

“I wasn’t one of the fastest in dry conditions. We’d probably fight for the top five. But in the end the top 5 would be a bigger difference in points for me and Quartararo.

“To drive a bad race is allowed, but we cannot repeat that performance at Aragon. We have to regain our emotions and be on the podium again.”

While Quartararo is more than happy with his dry pace, he’s also cautious that they will have to be more competitive in future rainy events.

“I’m not worried about the cold because we did pretty well. It’s the wet,” said Quartararo.

“Our main problem in such conditions is that we have a lot of trouble warming up the tires on the rear wheel at the edge and at the exit. So the start of the race was terrible for us.

“We risked a lot by making a big change to the bike because in [the wet] FP1 I felt really bad. Actually, it felt better still having a lot of trouble warming up the tires, but I was a little worried before the race because I never tried the setting I was going to ride!

“My first race in the wet, the first time with the attitude, on pole position, I was a bit nervous. But in the end it wasn’t that bad.

“I think this is a track that prefers the more powerful bikes in the wet because you can’t really get fast cornering speeds in the wet. But we also saw that Alex Rins was very fast.” [on an inline 4]”Unfortunately he crashed, but he was there and fought for victory.”

Vinales completes a title top four with 19 points, with Takaaki Nakagami (Honda) in fifth place 34 points behind.