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MotoGP Dutch GP

Quartararo confident he can defend any position in Dutch MotoGP race

2021 MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo believes that he can hold any position in today’s Dutch Grand Prix, provided he can grab it into the first corner.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

The Yamaha rider enjoyed a morale-boosting podium in Saturday's sprint race, despite finishing fourth on the road behind KTM’s Brad Binder, as he was promoted to third following a track limits penalty for the South African.

“That was the only way for me to overtake Brad,” joked the French rider after what was just his second podium of the season. “But I had more pace than him today [Saturday]. I just couldn’t overtake him.”

But though overtaking remains a challenge, Quartararo believes that if he can get ahead of the pack at the start of today’s grand prix, which he will line up fourth on the grid, then he can hold off any rivals.

“[Keeping a position] is basically all that we can do. I started the sprint in P4 and I finished in P4.

“But if we start better, maybe we can stay there – at least on this track. There are some tracks where we could start in front and it wouldn’t matter!”

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Apart from being narrow and tricky for overtaking, Assen has long been a relatively friendly track for the Yamaha.

It was a happy hunting ground for Valentino Rossi during his years with the marque, and Maverick Vinales also took a Yamaha win at the iconic track in 2019.

Quartararo, who won there for the Japanese manufacturer during his championship-winning 2021 season, commented before the weekend that if his bike didn’t work at Assen, it wouldn’t work anywhere.

His speed in qualifying and in the sprint has offered hope for some of the ‘Yamaha tracks’ coming up later in the season.

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Of more immediate concern, however, could be the injury Quartararo carries into the grand prix following a training accident ahead of the weekend. Today’s race is twice as long as the sprint, in which he did have his issues.

“I took some pain-killers before the race so the pain was stable,” he said after the Saturday contest. “The only problem was that the leg was shaking a lot in the left-handers.

“Hopefully it won’t shake too much after half-distance tomorrow! In terms of pain, I will be okay, it’s just how my legs move during the race.”

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