“I really drove to the limit all season long”

Fabio Quartararo, during practice for the Grand Prix de France, at Le Mans, on May 13, 2022.

First French world champion in MotoGP, the premier category of speed, in 2021, Fabio Quartararo, 23, had a complicated 2022 season due to the power deficit of his Yamaha against the Ducati armada. The Niçois, dolphin of the Italian Francesco Bagnaia, nevertheless draws up a positive assessment of the past year.

What personal assessment do you make of the year 2022?

At the start of the MotoGP season, as outgoing champion, I hoped to do better than second, but it quickly became apparent that I could not compete on equal terms with the Ducati, which are faster in the straight line. I had no margin of safety, I really drove on the limit throughout the season. In these conditions, finishing behind Francesco Bagnaia can be considered a satisfactory result, even if I am a competitor and I am not satisfied with it.

Read also: MotoGP: Francesco Bagnaia crowned world champion, no miracle for Fabio Quartararo

With my team, we sometimes lost points stupidly because of technical problems, in particular a recurring problem of overpressure of the tires. But it is in difficult times that we learn the most. This year, I also extended my contract with the Yamaha team, in which I feel good. Finally, I tell myself that it’s not so bad, even if I expected a lot more from my bike. The year was rich in emotions, I gave my maximum, I still acquired experience, all that is positive.

Fabio Quartararo, on the circuit of Jerez, in Spain, on July 25, 2020.

Becoming, in 2021, the first French world champion in MotoGP has made you a public figure. You are very much in demand by the media. How do you live this new notoriety?

The looks on me have changed, it’s true, but I don’t feel any additional pressure. The title of 2021 is rather a source of motivation for me. The fact that I started racing at a very young age, around 7 years old, allowed me to get used to the demands of competition very early on. As a young rider, my main fear was for a long time not having a handlebar to compete with, so I manage to put what is happening to me into perspective.

There have been a lot of crashes in MotoGP this year. Spaniard Marc Marquez, who dominated the category for a long time, suffered a lot to return to the highest level after his arm injury in 2020. In the race, do you think about the danger?

On the bike, I’m not afraid, even if I sometimes get scared when I lose front grip at nearly 400 km/h. I try not to think about it too much, because being afraid of falling can make you lose hundredths. The most important thing is that I continue to have fun, because it’s when I’m having fun that I give my best on the bike.

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