Interview with Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP rider and World Championship leader

BarcelonaWith his jumpsuit open, Fabio Quartararo (Niça, 1999) shows the bandages that cover his torso after the accident with Marc Márquez just a week ago. His Yamaha ran over him and burned a large part of the area. He doesn’t notice it on the bike, and he’s lucky, because, despite being the leader in the overall World Cup, he needs all the points possible to keep Pecco Bagnania and Aleix Espargaró at bay, who are unstoppable.

How do you feel about the burns you got in the previous Grand Prix?

— They burn me a little, the truth. After a week I expected to be a little better, but in the end I’m not as recovered as I hoped. On a day-to-day basis it doesn’t affect me much, but when I put on my overalls, it’s a different story. The time of maximum pain is when I do the treatments, which is for an hour or an hour and a half every day. I don’t notice it on the bike and it’s not a problem.

The accident with Marc was apparant. How did you live it?

— It was hard. Falling in the third corner of the first lap was not easy. In the end, however, everyone made mistakes in that corner and Marc skated a lot and even stopped. I didn’t think it would stop that long, and I, who hadn’t had a scare, ate his bike. I couldn’t help it and I don’t think he could either.

Now you are a leader, but the situation is nailed to the living last year.

— This situation is difficult. You don’t need to be an engineer to see that the Ducatis are doing a phenomenal job, as are the Aprilias. We, on the other hand, in the first part of the championship, when they had more difficulties, we had consistency. Now they are selling circuits where we haven’t been for a long time and here, with the changing weather, let’s see if we can get positive things out of it.

You have the same opponent as last year in almost the same circumstances.

— Pecco is stronger than last year, but so am I. We have less margin of points than last year, yes. I’m reaching a point where I have nothing to lose: whether I finish second or fifth, it doesn’t matter to me. What I want is to win the World Cup, so I have nothing to lose. I’ll go all out.

You have renewed with Yamaha for two more years. Was the decision easy?

— At the beginning of the year I did not expect to be in this position, watching the pre-season and the first races. In the end, however, I decided to renew with Yamaha and we took a little longer because I didn’t want to spend two more years with problems. I think I made the best decision, because I saw that the brand was very motivated and was doing everything possible to have everything it needed for next year. Last year and this year have been tough, but it’s in these moments that you learn to ride. When you’re always going to the limit, you never have any room to manage. The other Yamahas have a hard time, just like me, but I go faster!

Was leaving Yamaha a real option?

— Yes, we thought about it. We didn’t take a precise direction until I made my decision. We talked to many teams, but first of all I wanted to know where I wanted to go. There came a time when I told my manager that I wanted to stay at Yamaha and then we made progress in the negotiations. I didn’t position myself by staying at Yamaha to push the bids up, quite the opposite. My #1 goal as far as I’m having is winning races, and the biggest thing for me was to have the biggest bike development possible, and I think I made the right decision.

Did you make the decision or did your environment influence it?

— The negotiations were long. With my family and the closest people I talked about it: “What do I do?”. I mostly talked to my parents about it and said, “I’m about to leave Yamaha.” My mom told me to do whatever I felt like, but in the end, when I was negotiating with Yamaha, I saw that they would really do anything for me to stay.

How important are parents in your day-to-day life?

— The beginning of the season was hard for me, not only because of the bad results. Most of all, my head was always thinking about where I would be next year. It wasn’t a decision that was made, he had several options. Inside me, a part was telling me to stay and another to leave, but I wasn’t sure where either. I was lost and my parents helped me out of my doubts, along with my closest friends. I talk about these things with few people, only those I trust. They helped me choose to stay at Yamaha.

Does he feel like a MotoGP rider?

— No, because these situations only occur when you have to make a crucial choice. These are things that you can’t talk about with your own team because you’re thinking of leaving there. My team is my family, I spend more time with them, even. With Yamaha it is the first time that with the whole team we have a good atmosphere, not only with my pit, but also with Franco’s [Morbidelli]. I don’t feel alone in general, but at the time of choosing I get very close to the representative and my friend, who are always by my side during the Grand Prix and are the ones who understand my situation best.

And is the relationship between the pilots good?

— We are neither friends nor enemies. You can talk to them in a respectful relationship. Obviously, there are some you have more of feeling than others, but I don’t consider any of them a friend.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha pilot to MotoGP

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