Fabio Quartararo described his Czech GP as “torture” after struggling to a distant seventh, having run second behind team-mate Franco Morbidelli early on.
The Petronas SRT man went into the race feeling positive having “found something” in FP4 on Saturday morning that allowed him to qualify in the middle of the front row having been unhappy with his M1 during Friday running, despite scoring the second quickest time in FP2.
While making a lighting start and rocketing into the lead at Turn 1, he quickly lost the lead to Morbidelli and came under pressure from the charging KTM’s and recovering pole-man Johann Zarco.
He looked to have had fourth under lock and key after losing out to eventual race winner Brad Binder and Zarco, but began to slip back in the closing stages-ultimately crossing the line seventh and nearly 12 seconds down on Binder, while Morbidelli bagged his debut rostrum with second on his own Petronas SRT machine.
Quartararo apportioned blame for his lack of pace late in the contest to a degrading rear tyre, having expected less of a drop following his encouraging FP4.
“We suffered a lot from Friday morning to Sunday ahead of the race, but we found something in FP4 that made me believe a bit more in our pace to be there in the race.
“Honestly it’s really difficult to accept this seventh place, actually it was like torture from the first lap to the last lap I struggled a lot.
“We need to analyse where we lost a lot of performance, so not happy but at least we brought nine points for the championship.
“From FP1 to FP3 our pace was really bad, but then from FP4 I was really fast and feeling really good on the bike.
“We also felt the drop of the tyre was much less, so yes not the best weekend as I expected a bit of a tyre drop in the race but not that much so we need to find out what changed between FP4 and the race.
“This was a race I struggled with last year also, we now go to Austria which is a track I really like. We know KTM have tested a lot there so they will know exactly the tyre strategy for both races in Austria, so we will give our best and try to fight for what we want.”
Quartararo remains as championship leader having actually extending his points lead over factory Yamaha racer Maverick Vinales to 17, who struggled even more during the Brno encounter to a lowly 14th.
His quest for a maiden MotoGP title in only his sophomore campaign will be helped by the absence of Marc Marquez at the upcoming pair of Austrian events-staged at the Red Bull Ring.
His M1 Yamaha is expected to struggle at the predominantly power-based circuit, potentially leaving an open goal for Andrea Dovizioso to kick-start a championship tilt following a sub-par start to the season.