Quartararo, Zarco, Mir, Oliveira, Martin, Marquez and Gardner join the Pre-Event Press Conference.
MotoGP™ goes back-to-back this week and the grid is ready to take on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. In the pre-event Press Conference, Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was joined by closest challenger and top Independent Team rider Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing), reigning World Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), fellow Mugello podium finisher Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) returning from injury, eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and newly-signed 2022 MotoGP™ rider Remy Gardner, currently the Moto2™ World Championship leader with Red Bull KTM Ajo.
Here are some key quotes:
Fabio Quartararo: “It’s a track that I really like, even in Moto3 I was riding well, Moto2 I got my first win and yeah the last two years here in MotoGP were really great, one podium and one win. It’s a track that suits my style really well and yeah, let’s try to make a great race weekend.
“Last year was tough because the front feeling wasn’t there and I was struggling so much. From the Qatar test I found the feeling back, let’s say from 2019, that was missing last year. Also last year was really irregular. Some tracks I was fast, arriving to Valencia where I was so fast in 2019 was a disaster. This year it looks like in every single track I have this feeling, so yes, they made a massive improvement compared to last year. The front start device, I’ve been pushing from Qatar. We know that if we are not making a great start t’s tough for us to make an overtake, if there’s one or two riders in front it’s not so bad but a soon as we’re in the group then it’s so difficult. They did a great job, our first start at Mugello was great, and every time we can see we have a little bit of improvement. Thanks to them, they made a great job.”
Johann Zarco: “I was pleased with the fourth position in Mugello, I could have done an extra push and try to get the podium but I was really limited, but at least when I did this push, three laps to the end, I saved this fourth position and it was a good operation because to have second in the Championship is always interesting. Now coming to Catalunya, with the announcement of the new contract it is nice. I didn’t have any added pressure not knowing the future, but with a nice result and nice relationship we have with Pramac, I was confident staying focused would being good things for the future. That’s why we can start here, I’m happy to have a race one week after Mugello, I got a good feeling following Fabio and I could see some interesting things that I can try to work on immediately. If I can get a good feeling again I will have a chance to do a nice race on Sunday.”
“I think we can always have nice surprise because with MotoGP, if you can understand it quickly, now we know the KTM can work pretty well, and the team knows what he needs to do. I think he is the kind of guy who can enjoy it and make a surprise like Jorge in Qatar. I’m sure if understands everything well, he will be fast. As he said, he is looking forward to testing the bike but I think we will see he can adapt pretty quick and what he is doing in Moto2 is a nice construction of being fast. He was struggling, got some crashes, but now he has the consistency to win races and lead the Championship, so that’s perfect for him.”
Joan Mir: “Looking forward to starting here in Catalunya, it’s a track that is closest to home so it’s a home GP for me. Last year the Suzuki worked pretty well here, both riders were on the podium so it means the bike has potential. It’s track I normally enjoy a lot, I have the extra confidence from the podium at Mugello, it was a great weekend for us and I will try to repeat it here.
“We plan a strategy at the beginning of the year, the first tracks that were coming were not the best ones for our bike, our package, riding style, I don’t know. We said if we could stay close to the top for the second part of the season to fight for the title it would be great. I think we are following the correct steps to be able to fight at the end of the season for the championship. it’s true that Fabio is doing a great job, the Ducatis improved a lot compared to last year and we are trying to be there. It’s a nice fight, I will try to build more speed, be more consistent on the podium and fighting for victories, at the end this is what you need to fight for the title..”
Miguel Oliveira: “Confident for sure, that the podium always gives us this special feeling before we come into a race weekend. Especially when it’s like this, so close together, back to back. We did a good job in Mugello and we think that the steps that we made there forward can also help us here, so that’s what we are hoping for coming into the weekend is also try to finish on a high on Sunday and have a good performance.
“Yeah first of all a great team, Tech 3 was home for me for two seasons and just a great group of people working there. Also, the environment is quite nice, that he probably already knows from Moto2. I mean it’s much nicer package this new bike than what I encountered in 2019, plus with this challenge of being a new team for KTM to support, so it was a bit too much at the same time, but now I think you know it’s on flight mode now and it’s quite it’s quite nice, everything is running smooth and I think he’s going to enjoy riding the bike like this, so I wish him the best of luck!”
Jorge Martin: “It’s been a long month for me, really tough. I’ve been working a lot during all this time trying to get recovered as soon as possible. My target was to come back for Mugello but we know that it’s not the best track to come back. It is really physically demanding, and yeah, I could see the bikes moving a lot and shaking so I thought it was better to come here, and yeah, finally I could achieve this and hopefully I can do a great weekend here. I don’t have any target about results, just try to get some confidence to make laps and hopefully we can do a great job.
Marc Marquez: “It will be the first time we have fans at the circuit so it will be nice, I think step by step it will be the future and it’s the way we must follow. Mugello has been difficult for me, as have all weekends since I’ve been back. But anyway, we will see. Here we will try to do another step our way, try to continue in our process and let’s see if we can improve. Especially the feeling, the result doesn’t matter, because finishing 8th, 10th or 12th won’t change my life but improving the feeling will be important.
“When you come back it’s because you feel more or less ready to ride the bike. What surprised me most is how demanding MotoGP bikes are. Sometimes when you’re at home for a long time, you forget a bit how demanding they are physically. What surprised me more is you can feel ready in the gym, but then as soon as you ride the MotoGP there are many forces, like lateral forces, where in the gym you can’t do it. I was able to ride a street bike for many laps but MotoGP bike I still can’t ride 5 laps in an aggressive way, that was my riding style. This is what, sometimes when you’re at home for a long time you forget how demanding. But they’re the best bikes in the world, with the best riders in the world, and you need to be 100% in every aspect if you want to fight for podiums and victories.”
Remy Gardner: “I mean obviously, for me it’s a dream come true you know it’s been many years fighting to reach the MotoGP class and yeah, it hasn’t been easy but in the end it looks like I made it, so yeah, for sure, I can’t wait to ride the beast but at the moment we still need to keep the focus on the job you know which is fighting for the Championship.
Have the rumours about the deal affected his focus?
“I think it didn’t really affect me, I didn’t really believe it until it was signed pen and paper, so yeah, at the moment nothing really changes, still got to keep pushing and still got plenty of races to go… so got to keep the focus!”
That’s it from Thursday! Free Practice revs up on Friday morning, before MotoGP™ brings the noise in Barcelona at the earlier time of 13:00 (GMT +2) on Sunday.
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