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It wasn’t the fairytale ending Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) would have been hoping for on Sunday at the Motul TT Assen but a second consecutive podium, while still recovering from right arm pump surgery, is still a magnificent result for the Frenchman.
A third pole position of the season was met by expectation that Quartararo could claim that illustrious first MotoGP™ win, but his physical condition wouldn’t allow the 20-year-old to battle with race winner Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and second place rider Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) for the entirety of the Dutch GP.
Marquez and Quartararo vs the elements in Assen
“First of all, the first part of the race was really tough, my bike was shaking a lot on the back straight. It was so hard to control; the wind was the other direction than yesterday. I tried many things but the bike was shaking a lot, really difficult to handle,” explains Quartararo, who had to close the throttle on almost every lap going down the back straight as his M1 machine started to wobble uncontrollably.
However, after Warm Up, Quartararo was convinced he wouldn’t be able to finish the race due to the pain in his right arm. So this P3 is made even sweeter by the fact he not only finished, but he crossed the line just five seconds off Marquez.
“At the end we managed to get a podium when I think it’s the most difficult track for us with the physical condition of my arm. This morning, I say ‘for sure, I cannot finish the race’ because last night I was waking up because of the pain. This afternoon I took some pills and I was much better for the race but still, when Maverick overtook me, I was already destroyed.”
Free & in full - Round 8: MotoGP™ Motul TT Assen
The two Team Suzuki Ecstar riders of Alex Rins and Joan Mir were the early race leaders but after the former crashed and Mir went wide moments later, Quartararo found himself leading a MotoGP™ race for the first time. Something he describes as a better feeling than his first podium.
“I think it was the best moment of my life, even better than my first podium,” explained ‘El Diablo’. “I was thinking when I was a kid, I was looking at this racer and watching the top guys and then today I was leading my first race in MotoGP. And it was more than one lap, I think I was leading eight or nine laps, maybe more, but for me it was a really special feeling and also to be here on the podium.”
It certainly won’t be the last time we’ll see Quartararo leading a MotoGP™ race, but will the next time be at the German GP? The rookie sensation is confident he’ll be in much better shape for Round 9, so a Quartararo vs Marquez Sachsenring showdown could well be on the cards.
“I think, first of all, it will be really great because today I rested through the left corners, so I can straighten my arms and ride normal and Sachsenring is all left. I know Marc is fast there but for my physical condition it’ll be much easier there then here in Assen.”
Fabio flies high again in Assen