Fabio Quartararo 'frustrated, but happy' after Jerez demise
Fabio Quartararo admits retiring from second in the MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix left him “frustrated”, but was still “happy” to be fighting at the front.
The Petronas SRT Yamaha rider became the youngest ever MotoGP polesitter when he beat team-mate Franco Morbidelli to top spot in qualifying by 0.082s, and shadowed the Italian at the start of the 25-lap race in third.
Quartararo passed Morbidelli on lap 11 and put eventual winner Marc Marquez under some pressure, before a broken gear shifter forced him to park up on lap 14.
“I'm frustrated, but happy,” Quartararo told BT Sport.
“It's a mixed feeling, because when you are fighting already with the top guys... OK, Morbidelli was in front, but the first laps I was pushing really hard, but I was feeling really good with the bike.
“It was not really hard to keep the pace. [It was] not easy, but I was running well and unfortunately I have an issue on the gear shifter that cost me a lot.
“I really don't know [what broke], I didn't look at it. When I see I can't shift into fourth and second [gear], [I knew] it was over.”
Quartararo admitted he needs to learn the “bad things and good things” in his debut MotoGP season, but still branded his fourth premier class race weekend as “amazing”.
“At the end it's experience,” he added. “I need to learn the bad things and the good things, and today was good for me. Unfortunately we missed a top five.
“For me it was amazing. We made another step from this race, and I didn't expect that much. But I was feeling so good with the bike in the fast corners, the slowe corners.
“So it's good to have this confidence now. Tomorrow we will have a test, and I want to make more fast laps and feel the pace that we can get.”
Team-mate Morbidelli quickly faded from the podium battle after Quartararo retired, and admits he went into “safety mode” when his rear tyre started to lose grip to allow him to defend top independent honours in seventh from LCR's Cal Crutchlow.
“It's a good result for us,” Morbidelli said.
“Of course seeing where we started and how was our level during the early stages of the race, maybe we have a bit of a bitter taste.
“Anyway was good. In the beginning I was feeling great, feeling confident, but then I had to pull back a bit because the feeling with the tyre dropped a lot.
“So was just safety mode and at the end I was able to try to push a lot and push at the limit just to win the independent team fight against Cal."