After victory in the Portimao GP, Fabio Quartararo continued to show his claws also on the Jerez circuit, conquering the front row behind the poleman Bagnaia. However, if in qualifying the Frenchman is chasing the young Italian with a gap of four tenths, in the championship the situation is the opposite. The classification sees the Yamaha team’s French rider in the lead with 69 pointstied with Rins and his Suzuki, while for Pecco, who is in pursuit, the road is uphill on 31 points after an uncertain start to the season.
Pecco interrupted your series of poles with an incredible lap, but your pace during FP3 and FP4 was very fast.
“Yes, today I was very far from his times – Fabio told us – I was surprised by his performance given the track conditions. We worked well on the race pace during free practice with both new and used tires, so we have a good starting base for tomorrow’s race, even if nothing has already been decided, the track conditions could change tomorrow. Last year we got a good result here at Jerez, so I think we can do well tomorrow.”
Do you think that tomorrow in the race we will see you repeat the runaway victory you had at Portimao?
“Jerez is a very different circuit from Portimao, and even my feelings on the track are not the same as last week. In Portugal I felt completely confident, here I am quite convinced of my performance but not at the level of the last circuit. My pace is excellent but I don’t know if it will be enough to repeat Portimao. Ideally being in the leading group right away will be the first step towards victory. “
Pecco seems to have returned to the level of last season, how important will it be for you to finish the race in front of him?
“Obviously any rider races to finish ahead of the others, today Pecco was very fast, if we were in the last few races it would certainly be important, but that’s not the case. I think the goal at the moment must be to make a good start and see gradually during the race also adapting to the conditions of the track, which could also change in terms of temperatures”.
Some riders have complained about the holeshot device not working, how important will its use be on this circuit?
“Mine seems to work well. I think it will be important, the distance between the starting line and the first corner is short so being able to close it in front of the others will be a big advantage.”
The circuit in some areas still has some areas of damp asphalt, could this be a problem?
“It seems that Pecco did not find any – the French rider continued to joke – I saw some at turn 8, in fact they can be annoying but it will be so for everyone. Just avoid them by going round them, but of course if someone decides to overtake in that place, he could risk crashing and taking someone else with him. The problem is not so much the damp areas, but the danger of the curves in which they are present”.
Last year we saw some crashes, dangerous ones even. Do you think the circuit has improved?
“I think safety at Turn 7 has improved, but there are certainly other points where the run-off areas could still be improved.”
Do you think that Marc tomorrow, although he starts further back on the grid, he will be able to be among the riders trying for the victory?
“You can never ignore Marc, especially on one of his best circuits where he has won many races.”
Some rumors claim that you have already signed a contract renewal with Yamaha.
“About this, my manager of course is talking to Yamaha. But during the race weekend I prefer to focus on my thing. But on Monday I will have more information. I can say that I have not signed anything.”