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.
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.
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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