Fabio Quartararo says the lap that earned him pole position for the Italian Grand Prix-his fourth successive in 2021- at Mugello is the “best of my career.”
The Yamaha racer was in commanding form throughout the pole shootout session that would decide pole, Quartararo leading the way the whole way through after posting a 1:45.481s early on before shattering the Mugello lap record with a 1:45.187s despite not receiving a slipstream down the venue’s 1.1 kilometre long front straight.
The Frenchman ended up 0.230s clear of title rival Francesco Bagnaia-who set the previous Mugello lap record on a 1:45.456s in FP3 just hours earlier- by the time qualifying came to an end, leaving him with the best possible chance to try and extend his one point advantage over the Italian in the riders standings.
Quartararo says his pole gambit was “the best of my career”, a lap he graciously dedicated to injured Moto3 rider Jason Depasquier who was airlifted to hospital following a nasty incident in the lightweight class qualifying session.
“I think it was the best lap of my career so far, to immediately set a 1:45 on this track felt really fast but to improve to a 45.1 was almost a perfect lap, I could have done a little bit better but I was really on the limit,” explained Quartararo.
“We have a really great pace, we did runs with 24 laps on the tyres and I could do a 47.2 at the end which is really fast.
“Pecco (Bagnaia), (Johann) Zarco, (Alex) Rins and Miguel (Oliveira) are really fast too so I’m going to do my best and I think we can finish in a strong position.
“That pole is dedicated to Jason (Depasquier), I hope we receive good news and its certainly been a tough day for everyone.
Quartararo reckons Yamaha’s new hole-shot device should give him an opportunity to make a “great start” in order to try and hold the lead ahead of the traditionally rapid-lauching Ducati’s off the start, revealing he has practiced braking into the first bend with the starting device engaged to be as prepared as possible for the run off the line.
“It definitely helps (new starting device) a lot, I’m not really used to it because the Ducati, Suzuki and Honda riders already have experience of it and It’s quite strange arriving at the first braking point with the bike already low at the front,” added Quartararo.
“It’s just a case of getting used to it and at the end of qualy I pushed hard on the brakes to get more of a feel for it and it looks like it’s is working really well, so I think we can make a great start tomorrow.”