Grand prix

Japanese MotoGP: Fabio Quartararo confident ‘painful abrasions’ won’t be a ‘big issue on the bike’ | MotoGP

What was Quartararo’s second DNF since Assen, last weekend’s Aragon Grand Prix could end up playing a huge role in determining who will be crowned the 2022 MotoGP champion. 

After seeing his championship lead slashed from 30 points to ten, Quartararo is now under intense pressure to beat the likes of Francesco Bagnaia, something he hasn’t achieved since before the summer break at Sachsenring. 

Also within a win of the French rider is Aleix Espargaro, after the Aprilia rider secured a podium in Aragon.

“I’m [feeling] good,” said a relaxed Quartararo. “Today I had my first training [session] and it was okay. Just some abrasions so it is a little bit painful but I think on the bike it’s not going to be a big issue. 

“For sure, it’s going to be burning on the first session but I think it’s not going to be a problem riding the bike.” 

Quartararo ‘competitive’ at every MotoGP circuit, expects the same in Motegi

While results haven’t shown it due to unfortunate incidents like in Aragon or struggling to overtake at Misano and Silverstone, Quartararo has demonstrated the type of race pace good enough to fight against Bagnaia even during the Italian’s incredible run of four wins in five races.

And despite the Japanese MotoGP having not been held for three years, Quartararo expects that to again be the case at Motegi.

“At the end, in every track we are competitive. If you check the Red Bull Ring and also Aragon – in the past I have never been competitive there – but this time I had a pretty strong pace and unfortunately my race ended quite soon,” added Quartararo.

“I think on the pace, there is no track that we are not fast. But of course, there are some circumstances [that are difficult] like overtaking, but I think this track is quite good. 

“I’ve been super strong here in the past and I’m looking forward to being back because I have some really good memories.” 

Talking of his only previous visit to Motegi on MotoGP machinery, Quartararo nearly got the better of Marquez in 2019.

The two had a race-long battle that also involved Andrea Dovizioso, who ultimately finished third. 

Similar to that weekend, weather is expected to play a role this weekend as heavy rain appears to be on the cards. 

Such conditions that have previously been a struggle for Quartararo are no longer of great concern for the Yamaha rider, after he secured his first-ever wet-race podium in MotoGP at round two of the season in Mandalika. 

Quartararo said: “In 2019 the grip level was really high and I remember the race with Marc and Dovi, they were super fast. 

“The more grip there is on the track the better it is for us and Mandalika was super good so I think there is no reason to have fear about a wet race. Of course, I’m enjoying riding more in the dry but there are no issues on the rain.”

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