The pre-event Press Conference kicks off the Gran Premio de Europa, with pressure and playing catch-up proving two key talking points once again.
Here we go! The final triple-header of the season is about to kick off and ahead of track action for the Gran Premio de Europa, it was time to talk shop in the pre-event Press Conference. Championship leader Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) headed the line-up, joined by closest challenger Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), third Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Teruel GP winner and fourth overall Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), as well as Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar).
Here are a few key quotes!
JOAN MIR: “For sure feeling a little bit more pressure because the Championship is getting older, so every one of us feels like this it’s going to finish soon. Just enjoying the moment, we will see what position we will finish on Sunday. I’m confident of doing a good job, giving my 100% and at the end we will see where we are.
“Honestly I didn’t care about the others, I just care about my feeling. That’s something I have enough of, have a great feeling on the bike and give 100% every weekend, and at the end we are in this position, with three races to go it’s not a bad position. It’s important to continue like that. For sure we can see there are a lot of title contenders, more than normal, but it is what it is. I don’t care about the others, I care about getting the feeling.”
FABIO QUARTARARO: “It was tough to reset because when you have two races at the same track, and in the end, in the second race you go backwards and don’t make any improvements and then you see your teammate and he is doing one of the best races of the season. Honestly, it is tough to understand when we were there but I have pressed the reset button and we have arrived at a track that I really like, last year was a super good race for us so yeah, I am fully motivated and I think it is the correct mood to arrive in for the last triple header.
“You know, most of the season I’ve been in front of the Championship and I was feeling no pressure but now that I am second I feel that I had a little bit of pressure. Right now I feel much better, the confidence is here and of course we have a lot of contenders and in the end we saw this year with the amount of races we haven’t got as many points as previous years, so anything can happen, 75 points in the game. I think all of the riders that are here can win the Championship easily, we have to stay focused and don’t lose it and take it race by race is the only way to think about fighting for the Championship.”
MAVERICK VIÑALES: “For me and for us the last two races haven’t been bad honestly. We take some points on the Championship which is good. We also made a lot of mistakes, so we understand many things during the last three races. Now we have three races where we can enjoy a lot, it’s a track I love and also Portimao is a track I like. We have three weekends where we can do really good. The potential in the bike is there, Franco did a great job in Alcañiz, so this gives us a lot of energy and positivity to come here to Valencia and put on a good performance. We’ve won this year, we know how to do it, so we need to put everything in a row and hit a good lap time. It’s important for us to hit some consistency, the first four laps in Aragon were really good but after that it was a nightmare. I couldn’t push on the bike and it was very difficult. So we need to understand that and we need to work. I hope the team has something to work on and to give us an extra feeling to be competitive here in Valencia.
“I think our strategy is very clear: finish ahead of those two guys. That will be the main strategy to close the gap in the Championship. For sure it will not be easy but we want to put in the maximum level to finish in front of them.”
FRANCO MORBIDELLI: “I feel great, I have a great feeling with the bike especially in the last race, I enjoyed riding it a lot and I felt great. Maybe Alex and I joined the party a little late, but we are trying to catch up anyways. I will speak for me, but I will give my everything in these last three races in order to get the Championship because we are here now fighting for that, and we need to aim for that and to have no regrets at the end of the year. Whichever way it will go, it will be a positive Championship for me and a nice Championship anyway, but at this point, three races from the end and 25 points behind and having the momentum we have, we have to aim for something big.
“I think that being in a fight for a Championship is a particular feeling, it is a strange feeling and a strong one. It is a feeling that I had in 2017 and that most of these riders had in the past. Having that feeling again is for sure nice, but bad at the same time, but I am sure I am one of the guys that is feeling that ‘bad feeling’ less, because I am behind, I am 25 points behind and I need to catch up, I need to do everything perfectly to get that (the lead), so basically I have nothing to lose. I am a little bit, and I think the guys that are behind, are in an advantageous position this way but a disadvantageous position from the point of the view of the points. We are behind so we need to do everything perfectly but maybe we have less pressure so we can force a little bit more compared to the front guys.”
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO: “If it were wet we would have to use that chance in an intelligent way, but like you say we have to be faster on the dry to think about and fight with them. It looks like they are in a really good situation and with good confidence at the moment, something we don’t have and it is difficult. But you know every race is a different story and this is a different track so we will see, we will try our maximum in the remaining three races, we will do everything. It will be tough, but we will try.
“In the end it is the way I ride, it really doesn’t work with this tyre. We couldn’t find anything really good because if you see the season of the Ducati riders, more happened for the competitors and this created a really difficult situation. It was very difficult during the season to work and improve because it was every race was up and down and more down than up, so this is the reality. But this is a different track. We will start on the wet tomorrow for sure so the weekend will be different than the previous races so we will see. We will have to stay calm and try to find something.”
ALEX RINS: “For sure I’m happy to have the chance to still fight for the Championship in the last three races. This season I was very irregular in the final position in the races, with the shoulder injury and small mistakes in the races. I’m happy I still have the chance to fight for the Championship. Our target needs to be fighting for the podium like we did in Aragon. I’m 32 points behind so we don’t have the pressure, so we will try to ride free.
“We will never know. If I didn’t have that unlucky crash in the qualifying, we won’t know. I’m quite happy to be here fighting for the top positions. And I’m happy to see the Suzuki on top because it means that we’ve done a good job in the past, it’s perfect – we are top of the teams Championship and Suzuki are happy for this. It means we are doing a good job!”
That’s it from Thursday’s Press Conference! Gear up for the triple-header and tune in for the Gran Premio de Europa MotoGP™ race at 14:00 (GMT +1) on Sunday.
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