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Quartararo ‘will make contact if needed’ to salvage Aragon MotoGP result

MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo says a strong result in the Aragon Grand Prix will hinge on “aggressive overtakes”, saying that “if we need to make contact, we will”.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The Yamaha rider long predicted Aragon to be one of the toughest races of the year for him, having typically struggled for form at the Spanish venue.

Despite showing strong race pace in FP4 – which has convinced Quartararo that he is strong enough “to fight for the victory” – the 2021 world champion could only manage sixth in qualifying to languish eight tenths adrift of poleman and chief title rival Francesco Bagnaia's Ducati.

Given the Yamaha’s struggles to overtake, which will be amplified by Aragon’s massive back straight, Quartararo admits he will have to ride aggressively to make up ground.

“Unfortunately, no,” he said when asked if he felt there was anywhere on the track he could make safe overtakes.

“But I will need to make aggressive overtakes. And if we need to make contact, we will. But it will be my only solution for this race.”

When asked if his ability to extract the absolute maximum from the Yamaha in each session was making him proud, Quartararo added:  “When you do this the first time it’s good.

“But then arrives one moment when you look at the first run, you have a red helmet [on the time screen] in the last sector and you cross the line and you are P6 at four tenths [back from the front row].

“In the end you can be proud, but there are many bad words in my head burning.

“But in the end I’m starting to get used to it and we know, if you want to put the problem [into context], we know where we lose the four tenths.”

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Quartararo made a mistake on his penultimate flying lap when he lost the front of his bike going through the Turn 2 right-hander.

But he doesn’t believe he would have gained anything had he hooked that lap together, stating sixth was his “maximum” today.

“I gave my maximum,” he said.

“The only mistake – and I think maybe I would have improved my lap time, but not the position – is I lose the front in Turn 2, quite straight, I don’t know why.

“And then I made my lap time in the second lap. But it wouldn’t be a massive change, I wouldn’t have gained half a second.

“It’s a shame because I feel so good, I feel we have the pace to fight for the victory but it’s exactly the same since the beginning of the year.

“I can have three tenths faster than the others [on race pace], but in the race I will be behind.

“Qualifying is super important, but P6 was the maximum, maximum, maximum. But I think we can still do something great tomorrow.”

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

One of the Yamaha’s biggest issues when it is mired in a pack is how quickly its front tyre pressure rises.

Quartararo says he will start with a lower pressure for Sunday’s 23-lap race, but admits managing it will be crucial to his grand prix.

“The plan I think is, as we don’t start from the pole position, I think we will start lower in pressure because we will be behind many bikes,” he explained.

“The pressure will go up, so this is a problem because I will need to push so much on the braking. So, let’s see if the pressure will go too high.

“This will be the biggest [thing] for me tomorrow, the front pressure.”

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