“One of the riders’ favourite tracks”: Silverstone welcomes MotoGP™ back for another showdown.
Quartararo is joined by Aleix Espargaro, Bagnaia, Miller and Rins as the second half of the season gets underway.
It’s been a while but we are BACK! Ahead of track action at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix there was plenty to talk about, with the pre-event Press Conference gathering reigning Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), closest challenger Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), Assen winner Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), teammate Jack Miller and former Silverstone winner Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar).
Here are some quotes!
How you feeling ahead of the weekend and the penalty?
“Yeah five weeks was pretty long but I feel happy to be back, I will approach this weekend like a normal weekend, it’s how we need to do it. And then we have that penalty but let’s see how the weekend is going and of course how we approach the race. It will be a great challenge for us and I feel ready to race.”
Why does Silverstone suit the Yamaha so well?
“In the previous categories, Moto3 and Moto2, I’ve never been fast but in my rookie MotoGP I really felt I could fight for victory before the start of the race, I made the start and at the first corner I crashed but last year I could fight for the victory. It’s a track that’s quite technical, especially in the first sector, but with the MotoGP bike I’ve always been quick so let’s see how it goes, but I don’t see a reason to go slow.”
Are you looking forward to starting 2023 in Portugal?
“I’m not in the Championship since 2006 so that’s not a problem. For me it’s the same. It’s just a different track, a day race, but for me it’s the same. It’s a track that I love so it’s nice.”
The 15th to fourth in Assen must give you confidence?
“Yes, it has been a good summer break – too long – but I enjoyed the Assen GP a lot. Actually, it gave me a lot of motivation for the second part of the season because I proved, especially to myself, that I can be very competitive and very fast. Last year here, I got my first podium with Aprilia, and after one more year, we have achieved a lot more podiums, pole position, I won a GP, so it has been an incredible year and hopefully we can keep going this weekend.”
Are these next three months the biggest of your career, and how excited are you to resume after the break as a Championship contender?
“I can’t wait, sincerely. I’m very motivated, more than ever in my life. I recharged the batteries a lot during these five weeks and the challenge that I have in front of me is huge, but I will try to enjoy it as much as possible. It’s going to be a very, very intense three months, but I will try my best, I will try to fight to the end. I think I have a very good team, a very good bike, and I have proved in the last GP that I can be very fast, so let’s try to have some fun and see if I can do it.”
Thoughts on starting 2023 season in Portimao?
“For me, it will be strange. It will be strange because Qatar is always special, it’s a very different track, different country, and under the moon, under the lights, it’s always special. I also like Portimao a lot, so I will try to do my best, but I will miss Qatar!”
Amazing win in Assen, how excited are you to be back?
“First of all yeah, I’m happy to be back. Five weeks is very long and I’ve been looking forward to be here again. It’s one of the riders’ favourite tracks, Silverstone, and last year I was quite competitive until the race because I found some problems with the rear tyre. But in any case with the improvements we’ve done with our bike we can be more competitive from the start of the race and of the weekend and we’ll see what will happen.”
Four poles, three victories ahead of summer break, how important is the consistency?
“For sure if I want to have a chance to win the Championship I have to finish more races. It’s ok to win but it’s also important to finish when you’re not able to win. In the last six races I won three races but I also crashed in three races, two for my reasons and one for another. But in any case in the second part of the season it will be important to find the consistency and to be competitive like we were always in the first part of the season, but with finishing the races.”
And starting the season in Portugal?
“We always say that when we come to Europe we can see the clear potential of each rider, so let’s see if it changes something. But I’m happy because I love Portimao.”
You must feel motivated and confident after last year’s near-podium at Silverstone?
“Yeah, all the boys saying it [summer break] was too long; it definitely wasn’t long enough for me. Three weeks at home was nice to enjoy for a bit – a little bit of motocross, a little bit of catching up with the family, did some camping, pretty easy, to be honest. So, I enjoyed it a lot, batteries feel recharged, and ready to go. I had a good battle here last year and I think the improvements we’ve made with the GP22 should, on paper, benefit at a track like this, so I’m excited to see what we have for the weekend. The main objective this weekend is to not join Fabio in the Long Lap Penalty zone; the last two races, having two of them hasn’t been ideal, so I’ll try to let him be the hero and go through there this weekend, and I’ll stick to the normal track.”
What are your targets for the remainder of your time with Ducati?
“No targets. The main goal is to try and do better than what we did last season, which was fourth. So, if we can be consistent, be fast, I feel like we worked a lot of the kinks out in the first half of the season and we’ve got a fantastic package under us now, and we have a bike that can fight in lot of different races. So, we’ll give it a crack and see what happens. There’s a lot more that can go on, as we saw in Assen and throughout the first half of the season; a lot of things can change. So, we’ll just take it race by race, try and enjoy it the most, and take as many podiums as we can, and finish up my time in a happy place.”
Thoughts on starting 2023 season in Portimao?
“The date looks better; end of March gives me a little bit more time at home, hopefully. Hopefully we don’t have to fly to Sepang or anything like that. I’ll have to talk to KTM about the team presentation, otherwise I might get sick again or something!”
How much you looking forward to the LCR challenge?
“I’m really excited to announce during the summer break that I will race for LCR Honda next year, it’s really good news for me. I’m really excited because it’s a big challenge, I will try to give all my experience to them to improve the bike and try to make a competitive and winning bike again. But first of all we still have nine races to go, right now the Suzuki is working quite good. I would like to get the speed from the first races again, where we got two podiums in Texas and Argentina, but you know I think we’re on a good way. We’ve been unlucky in the last few races, it’s been difficult for me with the wrist injury, but right now I’m at 100% so let’s try to fight.”
Fully recovered from wrist, must be a great chance to fight for the podium?
“Well for sure it will be a difficult race. Many people are saying to me that we’re arriving to Silverstone and I will win or I’ll finish on the podium, but the level in MotoGP is high. A lot of riders are riding so fast, so let’s see. We’ll start from Friday and improve the setting of the bike a little bit, and then the key is the quali. Let’s see if we can qualify well and we’ll see in the race.”
And what about starting the season in Portugal?
“For sure it’s going to be different, since I arrived in the Championship in 2012 we were going to Qatar one week early for a test and everything, so I don’t know how this will change for Portimao but for me it’s fine. It’s a good track.”
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