Fabio Quartararo: 'I had nothing left' for Japanese victory bid
Fabio Quartararo said he ‘had nothing left’ to fight with as he battled a degraded rear tyre in the closing stages of the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.
The Petronas SRT rider looked set to battle for victory after initially passing eventual race winner Marc Marquez into the Turn 7/8 esses on the opening lap, before conceding the lead just seconds later at the Turn 9 hairpin.
He remained close to Marquez afterwards, and at one point began to reel in the world champion by a few tenths per lap.
Marquez ultimately had enough pace in hand to keep Quartararo at bay, with the Frenchman instead having to turn his attentions to the charging Andrea Dovizioso and Maverick Vinales behind as his soft rear tyre began to fall off significantly.
Quartararo revealed after the race that he “pushed 100%” to stay with the Honda in front, with this approach likely a factor in his late race troubles.
“I had nothing (Tyres),” said Quartararo.
“I had no more tyre left at the end, so it was lucky that I made a gap early on.
“Marc had three-tenths on me all race, so I really pushed 100% to try and stay with him.
“Dovi (Dovizioso) at the end was really fast, he was riding over half-a-second faster than me so I needed to really push to keep him behind.
“I’m really happy with this second podium in a row, and I’m very proud to achieve the goals we set ourselves in the beginning of the year.”
Quartararo secured Rookie of the Year spoils with his second place finish, out-scoring closest rival Joan Mir sufficiently to wrap up the accolade three races early.
He also passed nine-time premier class champion and fellow Yamaha pilot Valentino Rossi for sixth in the overall standings, now holding a lead of 18 points due to the Italian’s non-finish at Motegi.
The now six-time MotoGP podium finisher has also closed to within 13 points of third in the overall standings, currently held by Suzuki ace Alex Rins.