On a weekend where we welcome fans back to the grandstands, World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) fronted up the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya Pre-Event Press Conference that consisted of Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing), Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), the returning Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) and Moto2™ World Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo).
The best news coming into Round 7 of the season is we’ll be seeing the glorious sight of fans in the grandstands at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The circuit will be running at 20% capacity this weekend and we, like the riders, are buzzing to have fans cheering on trackside throughout the three days.
Quartararo: “So happy there will be fans. The approach will be the same, the only thing that will change is finally we have some fans. Last year in Misano was the first we had and even if there isn’t a lot compared to what we normally see, it’s really nice to see them and feel their support, and if we have something to celebrate it’s always nice to be with the fans.”
Mir: “Yeah, I’m very happy about the crowd and everything. Still it is not the same because there's not all the public that we want and we need, but this is still really good is one step closer to what will be in the future. We almost forget that normally on tracks there's people in the grandstands so it will be nice too. Also, what you miss a lot is that when you get a good result or even a bad result, the support of the people and the fans, once you are on the podium and yeah it's something that I missed a lot and I hope to see it here.
“Something that I’ve never lived before in a MotoGP level is this, the fans I mean, now because yeah, when you are in Moto3 or Moto2, it is not the same as when you are fighting for a title than the crowd that supports you in MotoGP, so in 2019, I was a rookie but last year I was able to win the title with nobody on track and that was something really sad you know. I'm curious to see if with all the people on the grandstands and everything, is something that that I really miss and it is something that I want I want to live!”
Marc Marquez: “Yes, as Joan says, it's normal that it's… and it's nice also for the world. I mean it’s a natural step, and I think it's good news. Also it's nice that the first GP that fans will be allowed is in Spain and the Catalan GP, so yeah, we will see of course, as we see in the football, in the tennis, step by step they opened the gates to the fans and this is a is something natural that of course a circuit is much bigger than a football stadium or tennis like here in the Godo in Barcelona. So happy and looking forward to the future to increase the number of fans because of course as riders we can feel it on the track.
“As they say I believe that the riding style, riding performance is not affected but maybe it can affect in the emotions, in the last laps, in the celebrations so all these things of course we miss the fans, but it's true that in riding performance, I think the level is there and will be the same.”
A happy hunting ground for the Championship leader
If there’s one circuit where it’s almost a guarantee that Quartararo will go well at, it’s the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. His first Grand Prix win was claimed here, as was his first premier class podium. And last season, Quartararo won the race. So can anyone stop the Frenchman in Catalonia this year?
Quartararo: “Yes it’s a track that I really like, even in Moto3 I was riding well, Moto2 I got my first win and yeah the last two years here in MotoGP were really great, one podium and one win. It’s a track that suits my style really well and yeah, let’s try to make a great race weekend.”
What has surprised Marc Marquez the most upon his return from injury?
It was a question pitched to the eight-time World Champion ahead of his home Grand Prix, and here’s what he had to say.
Marc Marquez: “Maybe, of course, when you come back it’s because you feel more or less ready to ride the bike. What surprised me most is how demanding MotoGP bikes are. Sometimes when you’re at home for a long time, you forget a bit how physically demanding they are. What surprised me more is you can feel ready in the gym, but then as soon as you ride the MotoGP there are many forces, like lateral forces, where in the gym you can’t do it.
“I was able to ride a street bike for many laps but MotoGP bike I still can’t ride 5 laps in an aggressive way, that was my riding style. This is what, sometimes when you’re at home for a long time you forget how demanding. But they’re the best bikes in the world, with the best riders in the world, and you need to be 100% in every aspect if you want to fight for podiums and victories.”
Tune into MotoGP™ FP1 at 09:55 local time (GMT+2) on Friday morning to see the riders head on track to the roar of fans at the circuit, and witness who takes the early advantage in Catalonia.