Speaking on Saturday, Fabio Quartararo admitted he had to switch his brain off during that afternoon’s MotoGP qualifying session, ahead of the following day’s German Grand Prix.
By taking that approach, that saw the Frenchman simply go all out for one lap, rather than focus on the issues that had been holding him back in practice earlier in the weekend, the defending world champion had been able to secure himself second place on the grid for Sunday’s all-important race.
Although those efforts may not have been enough to secure him the often much-coveted pole position, they regardless look to have turned into an absolute masterstroke from the factory Yamaha rider.
Had Quartararo not gone all out to claim that place on the front row of the grid, then form and times from the rest of the weekend, suggests that the title race leader could have found himself behind at least six Ducatis on the grid, as well as the Aprilia of the man sitting second to him in the Championship standings; Alex Espargaro.
If that had been the case, then the short run that there is to the first corner at the unique Sachsenring circuit, combined with the speed of those rival bikes off the line, would have left Quartararo with a hugely difficult task to get anywhere near the front runners in the opening stages.
With the race pace those riders had shown, combined with the lack of overtaking opportunities there is around the Sachsenring, that could potentially have left the Frenchman struggling to claim a podium place, and at risk of losing points to his Championship rivals.
But by putting himself in such a strong position on the grid, Quartararo was able to get an inch-perfect start and lead off the line in Sunday’s race, rather than having to battle his way through a number of other bikes, that would have risked him being caught up by someone else’s accident, which could have been extremely costly in any number of ways.
As a result, the way things did play out, meant Yamaha rider was immediately into a position where he could put the pressure on the pole position man, and many riders had tipped to take the title of Quartararo this season; Ducati’s Pecco Bagnaia.
With that pressure on him from the Frenchman from the start however, Bagnaia managed to complete just three laps before crashing out of the race through an unforced error – not for the first time this season – while attempting to keep pace with Quartararo at the head of the field.
Despite some brief pressure from another Ducati rider, and fellow Frenchman, Johann Zarco, that left the road clear for Quartararo to cruise to another race win, with that error he forced from Bagnaia only serving to help extend his lead even further.
Victory in Germany therefore, now means he now leads the Italian by 91 points at the halfway stage of the campaign, leaving the his title hopes hanging by a thread for another year with ten races remaining.
It also means that the Frenchman’s closest challenger, the aforementioned Espargaro, is now 34 points behind him in the standings, considerably more than the 25 handed out for a single race win.
Taking all that into account, it seems that the Yamaha rider could barely have taken greater advantage from the way things played out in Germany over the weekend, thanks to the position he put himself in right from the start of the race.
With that in mind, you get the feeling that if Quartararo does indeed go on to claim his second consecutive world this season – as he is now well placed to do – he will be able to look back on that decision to throw caution the wind in qualifying in Germany as a brilliant, and potentially decisive call.
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