Yamaha atmosphere “fantastic” in the midst of the Vinales controversy

Vinales has been banned from the team and withdrawn from the Red Bull Ring race this weekend after deliberately attempting to blow up his Yamaha’s engine at the Styrian GP in the same location last week.

Yamaha decided against replacing Vinales for the weekend and left the championship leader Quartararo on the track as the sole representative of the works team.

Despite the intense media interest in Yamaha this weekend related to the Vinales situation, Quartararo insists that the atmosphere in the garage has not changed.

“The atmosphere is great,” he said after the second qualifying for the 28-lap Austrian GP on Sunday.

“I mean, I have my guys in the garage, a Maverick’s mechanic [team] stayed to help. I want to thank him because he is also working on my bike [while] he could be home. So thanks to him.

“The atmosphere is fantastic.”

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Red Bull Ring is arguably Yamaha’s weakest circuit on the 2021 calendar, but Quartararo will continue to lead it regardless of what happens at the Austrian GP on Sunday.

The Frenchman was supposed to take pole for the event with a new lap record of 1: 22.677 minutes, but was contested when Pramac Ducati rookie and Styrian GP winner Jorge Martin died.

Quartararo shows a strong race pace in FP4 on Saturday and believes he will be able to reach the podium again, but will not strain himself unnecessarily on Sunday given his championship situation.

“I mean, I don’t have a clear goal because it’s really hard to fight in a race at this track [unlike] in Assen, for example, where the straights are very short, ”he added.

“It depends a lot on the first laps, but of course I will give my maximum.

“I think our pace is to fight for the podium or the top 5, but I won’t drive myself crazy if I see someone up front who is faster.

“I will do my best to go to the limit, but I will not push more than my limit. So I’ll go 100% in the race, but I won’t beat it. “