The winter was laborious, the spring promises to be radiant. Winner in Portimão after months of doubts, Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) has regained a form of confidence at the best of times: the Spanish Grand Prix, contested this weekend in his garden in Jérez, and the series of European events must allow him to become the undisputed boss of the Championship again, like a certain Jorge Lorenzo in his finest hours. For the rest, in particular the question of his future, the Frenchman chose the “Kimi mode”, namely a phlegm worthy of Räikkönen.
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It is doubtful that the reigning world champion, rather warm, will long bear comparison with the character of the very popular ex-Formula 1 driver. On the other hand, on the track, we have already seen him imitate Lorenzo with a confusing resemblance. In Portugal, in a period when it is always more difficult to live a solo race, the Niçois made the hole with a metronomic rhythm worthy of the Mallorcan. “El Diablo” completed 19 of the 25 laps in less than 1’40, and having released the pressure at the end of the race when its lead was significant.
Quartararo, metronomic like Lorenzo
Quartararo had not won since August 27 at Silverstone. Finding the win, in this way, completely dispelled the ambient gloom. “I’ll never give up, no matter what we feel, what we thinkhe assured after the fact to motogp.com. The title is always possible. ” So far, defending this crown had seemed rather utopian to him due to the lack of power of his Yamaha, unable to compete with all the other machines in a straight line.
In Portimão, the French driver was able to overcome this deficit, both thanks to the nature of the circuit and his very fast last corner, also by taking advantage of new adjustments. On his return to the box last Sunday, he reported his impressions – in Italian – to his chief mechanic Diego Gubellini: “I saw a lot of little things that are great“. Then, noting that he was being filmed, he refrained from saying more: “We’ll talk about it later“Are these”little things“which allowed him to send a strong signal this Friday, in Jérez, during the first day of free practice?
Constantly at ease on this circuit (even though he had suffered from compartment syndrome last year… and crashed on Friday morning), the world champion has long seemed in difficulty in the last sector, where the last hairpin bend is a headache for a Yamaha in need of power. But at the end of the second session, he ended up solving it. “Honestly, other than the top speed, I don’t know what could be improved.he explained before the start of one of his favorite Grands Prix. The bike pivots well, it’s stable under braking…so for me it runs great! […] I feel good right now.”
change of tone
If the tone and the mood have changed, it is both because Quartararo has taken over the controls of the World Cup and because his future is still at the heart of many discussions within the paddock. Warming up his relationship with Yamaha could become a necessity if the manufacturers potentially interested in his transfer, in particular Honda and Ducati, finally opt for an internal grub. It would also be the limit of the comparison with Jorge Lorenzo who, in 2017, had slammed the door of the Japanese factory in a deleterious atmosphere.
Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) during free practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, April 29, 2022 in Jérez
Credit: Getty Images
“Fabio rides wonderfully well, he drives the bike well and that doesn’t always allow him to make podiumsanalyzed the one who has always designated the Frenchman as his successor, in an interview with Motorsport.com. Psychologically it’s difficult for him but I don’t see a better option. We talk about the Honda but it’s a very difficult motorcycle […] which is piloted in a radically different way. And there doesn’t seem to be a place at Ducati.”
Quartararo’s performances have once again become a central topic but the question of his future is never far away. After having constantly kicked in touch in recent days, recalling that the negotiations were above all led by his manager Eric Mahé, “El Diablo” has moved on to another method. Last Sunday, after his victory in Portugal, the 23-year-old driver was asked if the success could have an impact on his decision. “Nope“, he replied tersely. Before adding, in the face of journalists visibly frustrated by this dry response: “I’m in Kimi mode!“
Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) after his victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix, April 24, 2022 in Portimao
Spanish Grand Prix
Quartararo falls in the 1st free practice session, without gravity
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“It was his race”: Quartararo, the return of the champion
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