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Quartararo says Silverstone MotoGP long lap “difficult” for safety

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo is wary of having to serve his long lap penalty early in the MotoGP British Grand Prix as it is “quite difficult” in terms of safety.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Championship leader Quartararo must serve the penalty loop in Sunday’s Silverstone race as punishment for his collision with Aleix Espargaro at the last round at Assen – something he feels hard done by.

Quartararo spent FP1 and FP2 on Friday at Silverstone regularly practicing the long lap loop, which is situated on the outside of the Loop section at Turn 14.

Race Direction will give him the signal for the penalty during the first lap of the race, and he must serve it within three laps from receiving that message.

At the Czech GP at Brno in 2020, Johann Zarco served a long lap penalty and was able to keep a podium place – though Quartararo says nothing can be learned from this owing to the different natures of the penalty loop at both circuits, while also cautioning about the safety of the Silverstone one.

“No, because it’s totally different way because in Brno it was on the same corner,” he said when asked by Autosport if he was able to learn from Zarco’s situation at Brno in 2020.

“So it was just the outside [of a corner] and he made it I think five or six laps from the end.

“Now I need to make it in the beginning and I hope they will not make [me take] it in the beginning because I think it’s quite a tricky place to get back on the track. I think it’s something quite important.

“It’s also a small advantage for me, but for the safety it’s quite difficult. I hope they will not put it straight away on the first lap, but the second or third lap just for the safety.”

Commenting on the loop itself, Quartararo says it doesn’t need to be attacked with the same precision as some others do.

But he was also wary of crashing out trying to gain a couple of tenths by pushing the limits when he does serve the penalty.

“It’s long, but at the end it’s not so bad, it’s not so… I would not say long,” he added.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“Of course, you lose time because you gain some metres [on a lap], but you don’t need to be so precise [when taking it] like in Barcelona where the long lap is so long and you need to be precise.

“You just need a lot more metres and of course you lose quite a lot of time. It’s great because it’s tarmac, not paint, but it’s really bumpy.

“I think it’s not necessary to risk a crash to gain one tenth, two tenth. To lose two tenths more is no problem.”

The Yamaha rider doesn’t feel any different about the penalty now he has tried the loop, and took a dig at the stewards by saying he is “happy” to serve the punishment if it helps them to better judge penalties in the future.

“[I feel the] same. I did it already yesterday with the bicycle and I saw that it was long.

“But It’s not so bad. I just still think I don’t deserve this penalty, but if it helps for the future and the stewards to find a balance with these penalties, I’m happy to do it.”

Quartararo ended Friday’s running at Silverstone fastest of all, but admits he was “a bit lost” in FP1 having not ridden a MotoGP bike for so long.

“Was tough because the first laps in FP1 I was a little bit lost,” he said when asked about his day.

“Not on power or handling, but on braking. At Turn 8 I was braking, I had to release and I didn’t remember how much those bikes braked and I could not ride after Assen for the shoulder injury that I had, and was strange.”

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