10 months ago
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Was there too much pressure piled on double FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) too soon? The now MotoGP™ title contender and all-round great guy sat down with the Last On The Brakes team to chat about that very topic – and much more.
After winning the 2013 and 2014 Junior World Championship titles, Quartararo landed on the world stage as the next big thing. The Frenchman was tipped to be the next Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), and as you can imagine, that is quite some pressure for a teenager.
“When I was younger, was great that people saw I had a great potential,” comments the three-time premier class race winner. “But there was one moment where they started comparing me to Marc. At this stage it was motivation. But I didn’t realise it was more pressure than motivation. So I finished the 2015 season in a really bad way, I broke my foot and then, not really bad decisions, but circumstances that made 2016 and 2017 really bad.
“In 2018, I started to find my way to be better so I think the experience I had when I was younger, helped me to be good right now. For me, I spent 2016 and 2017 as the worst years of my career. Never great results, always tough moments. But when I’m looking at these years right now, I’m like ‘OK, the result was so bad but I took a lot of experience and I leave of the bad things that I lived during these years help me a lot to stay strong for these years. So in the end, it was negative for the result but positive for the experience.”
But, as we know today, Quartararo never gave up on the dream. “I knew the potential that I had, that I have and I had in this moment. Because normally I’m not the guy who likes to complain a lot about the bike. But these years I was complaining, complaining. There was one race where, you know, you feel good on the bike and you make good result. And at the end, this is what makes me feel that I was good, you know.
“This is why I never gave up and always trained hard because in 2018 I arrived to Speed Up. And the boss just told me, keep like this, working in this way and you will arrive. And actually when he told me that, I was P28 in Argentina in the qualifying and he put me in a really good mood and I said, ‘OK, I have no pressure from the boss.’ So I could work and keep going like that and this gave me a lot of confidence. From this moment, everything went much better than I expect.”
Quartararo is then asked if the pressure back then was worse than it is today, when he’s fighting for a MotoGP™ World Championship.
“Yes. Yes, because for sure, all riders are different but my main things that make me nervous or stressed are if I have a ride for the next year. And at this moment in 2018 I signed 2 years with Petronas and I was much more calm, less stressed, my future was already clear. Right now, I’m signed for 2021 and 2022 with Factory Yamaha, so this is the thing that can make me nervous. But you know then you learn during the years that if I’m in the situation that I have no ride, for sure I will be calm because I know the potential that I have right now. And I know that I can do some great results. I had already tough times this year but always working in the same direction to always feel good. But yes in the past, the pressure was a bit more.”
Looking at this year’s fight, Quartararo reiterates that the pressure isn’t on him. And whatever happens from now, as hard as it may get, the pressure won’t be as bad as before.
“Yeah, I see it that way because you know the team was born last year, I arrived as a rookie that finished 10th in the World Standing in my last year in the Moto2™. I’m second in the championship right now - the pressure is not on me. Y’know, the riders all in the top 4 with me are factory riders.
“In the end, you can say, OK Joan is a rookie but he’s in a factory team with a lot of experience in the past, they came back, they have a lot of evolution. Maverick is the same, a lot of years in MotoGP™, Dovi the same… and I’m there in the middle of these guys and two years ago I was totally lost! I just do my best and enjoy it. If the championship doesn’t come this year, I’ll work a lot to be in the next years.”
Here’s what other topics Quartararo and hosts Matt Dunn and Fran Wyld delve into this week:
- How Fabio’s living the dream
- Home races will never be the same again
- How he deals with pressure now
- Fabio’s inner circle and how they help him humble
- Has he changed since coming into MotoGP™?
- Kenwood Quickfire
Head over to your favoured platform to listen or watch the Last On The Brakes Podcast! And as always, get in touch across MotoGP™’s social media platforms to let us know your favourite part of the show.
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