Fabio Quartararo says the huge blow to his 2022 MotoGP title chances at Phillip Island was rooted in him “over-riding” – but thinks it’s a different situation to 2020.
Quartararo suffered two major setbacks in this Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, first getting Turn 4 badly wrong and dropping down to 22nd from the lead group and then crashing out at Turn 2 just as he’d recovered to the final points-paying position – 15th place .
His race evoked memories of a brutal four-race stretch in 2020 in which he went from leading the title race to conceding the championship over the course of double-headers at Aragon and Valencia.
Phillip Island was particularly reminiscent of the second Valencia race that year, in which Quartararo likewise made an error while fighting in the pack and dropped back by running wide, before crashing out.
But asked whether this was similar to 2020, Quartararo – who won the title in 2021 in the interim – said: “No. Actually 2020 was mental and technical. And now I don’t feel mentally, like, over-thinking too much or not.
“Mentally I don’t feel it’s [like] 2020. But just, you know, trying to do my best.
“And over-riding a little bit so much, and the risk of having a mistake is really close. And that’s what happened today.”
@FabioQ20 runs wide at Miller Corner, he’s back in 22nd!
(@MotoGP) October 16, 2022
The reason for Quartararo’s “over-riding”, he agreed what he felt he had no choice but push at the very limit and beyond to make up for his Yamaha M1’s top-speed and pack racing deficiencies.
Of his initial error, Quartararo said that he “braked too hard, and the bike lifted and I had [Luca] Marini in front and I had to go wide”.
As for his subsequent crash, he explained it as follows: “I pushed way too much into the entry. It wasn’t a big difference in the corner speed but just out of [Turn] 1 [Doohan corner] I was much faster than what I used to be.”
UNBELIEVABLE! QUARTARARO IS OUT OF THE RACE!
@FabioQ20’s title hopes ARE FALLING APART!
(@MotoGP) October 16, 2022
It was, he said, “not the result I expected”, and he acknowledged that salvaging his title hopes would now be particularly complicated.
“Now we need to turn the page. And we only have one job – to try to win. It’s going to be the toughest job of my career. But I’m ready to fight for it.”
Quartararo has now lost the championship lead he has occupied since the Portuguese Grand Prix in late April.
Having been 34 points clear of the field by the middle of June, he now trails Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia – who was third at Phillip Island – by 14 points with 50 available across the remaining races at Sepang and Valencia.
Bagnaia had been 91 points behind Quartararo at the season’s halfway point.
Quartararo has only taken eight points from the last four races, has not won since the German GP in mid-June and last took a podium in Austria in August.
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