In his first ever interview with an Indian magazine, Fabio Quartararo speaks about his MotoGP innings so far, his motivations, and a glimpse of his future
Fast Bikes India - How did you keep your skills sharp during the Covid shutdown?
Fabio Quartararo - I had been training a lot at home. It was very tough because in one moment you are home alone and spending all your time locked in. The first month was difficult, but at the end I got used to the situation. What was really special was that I was able to improve my physical condition, as I was just having breakfast, training, eating healthy, practicing on the Playstation, training again – that was my routine during the three months.
FBI - How do you mentally prepare yourself before a race?
Fabio Quartararo -Mentally I’m feeling good, I’m feeling strong. Before a race I love to listen to music. In fact not just before the race, I do the same before the practice sessions as well. I love listening to the music – it helps me focus and really helps me to mentally stay calm.
FBI - You had a particularly good race at Jerez, snatching the win after dropping down the order. How did you pace yourself?
Fabio Quartararo - The race at Jerez was really good, though in the last few races we’ve struggled a bit with the bike. We now have a double race at Misano and we’re happy. We’ll also have an opportunity to improve the bike. It’ll be a two-day test. We rode in three tracks which were very long and were difficult and the results were absolutely not to our expectations, but now at Misano I feel strong, and of course I look forward to tomorrow.
FBI - You’ve spoken about Marquez sharing his inputs. How has that helped you shape your career?
Fabio Quartararo - It’s not just with Marquez, but when you see people in front of you that are going faster; you try to push your limits to see if you too can go faster. Actually, that’s why it was important to observe people faster than me last year. That way I could learn and take in their experience. In some tracks you can see the place you need to improve and the places you can push your limits. But there is one moment where, at the beginning of last year it was so important to see where all they were faster and then to make some big steps. Of course, when you are two places behind the fastest persons, you can better observe and make the required improvements. However, when you are at the top yourself, your improvements in speed are comparatively gradual, though you do need to keep trying your best. So, a lot of riders have, well, I can’t really say ‘helped’ me, but when I see them, I work harder, and ultimately I improve.
FBI - You are currently at the top of the MotoGP standings. How does it feel?
Fabio Quartararo - It feels great. Although for three races we missed good opportunities to score more points. But it feels still good, and we’re still leading the championship. And Montmeló is a circuit I really like, and I was really excited about the good result this last weekend, and have a bigger advantage before the next GP.
FBI - How do you rate the jump in the bike’s performance from Moto2 to MotoGP?
Fabio Quartararo - Everything has changed! The electronics, the power, the brakes, the shape of the bike, the people working in the team, the professionalism of the team in MotoGP is totally different from Moto2. Much more people are involved, and that means I need to bring in a lot of maturity, something I’m constantly working upon. But it was an important step for me, and I’m feeling good about where I’m working right now, and I hope to continue in the same way.
FBI - How is the relationship between the team and PETRONAS? How does PETRONAS support the team?
Fabio Quartararo - It is a great relationship! They put a lot of effort into supporting the team, and to push the innovation of their products through us. I feel really confident racing with Sprinta thanks to that.
FBI - Who do you think is your biggest rival?
Fabio Quartararo - It’s really difficult to say, now that everybody is so strong: Andrea Dovizioso has so much experience, Jack [Miller] is in his sixth season, and so is really fast too, [Maverick] Vinales... there are a lot of strong riders, so it’s really difficult to say who will be the favourite. There are many riders out there who can fight for the championship.
FBI - What are your predictions now that Marc Marquez is out of the championship this year?
Fabio Quartararo - I want to say I’ll be the first rider at the end of the season (laughs) but it’s still a long way to go, we have nine races in eleven weeks, so I think it’s still too early to say anything. We need to go step-by-step, and just look at the situation race by race right now.
FBI - How does it feel to be selected as a replacement for Valentino Rossi (for the 2021 season)?
Fabio Quartararo - It is no less than a dream! I remember just about 10 years ago I was waiting outside venues to spot him and click a picture with him. At that time, riding with him was one of my dreams. And next year, I will take his bike. I say bike as I cannot ever take his place; he’s too important and I think he won’t ever be replaced. But I believe it’s such a funny story: from waiting to click a picture with him, to taking over his ride next year.