“I have to go all in”: Quartararo and Bagnaia ready for #MatchPoint at Misano
The pre-event Press Conference talks title chances, the Doctor’s farewell, expectations for the weekend and more
Thursday, 21 October 2021
Do not adjust your sets! We are, indeed, back at the technicolour dreamboat that is Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli and this time for the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna, with Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) facing down his first #MatchPoint no less. He headlined the Pre-Event Press Conference, joined by challenger – and winner last time at Misano – Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), as well as COTA victor Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), San Marino GP rookie podium finisher Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama), compatriot and fellow rookie Luca Marini (Sky Avintia VR46), and, of course, the legendary Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) as he prepares to race on home turf for the final time. In addition, Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) joined the line-up, the South African freshly-announced as racing in the premier class next season with the new RNF Racing structure.
Here are some key quotes!
Fabio Quartararo: “I’m feeling really good but to be honest my head is not really on that part. I think we need to take it like a normal race but we know on Sunday something special can happen. But first of all on Friday and Saturday, we need to plan it like the rest of the year, and then on Sunday we will see the amount of risk we will take. But Friday and Saturday will be a normal situation for the moment and then we will see what will happen.”
Will he take as much risk as the San Marino GP?
“We will see. It’s how I like to race but I have never been in that situation. Last year I learned a lot, not how to fight for a championship but to be leader of the championship for many races was an important step for my experience, and this year I think it’s much ‘easy’ let’s say to have it. At the moment it is a normal race and we will see how much risk we will take on Sunday.”
Francesco Bagnaia: “For me the only thing I can do is win, to try and stay in the Championship fight. We know 52 points are a lot, but we will try. We still have the possibility so we will try. It will be different this weekend because the conditions are different and looks like it could rain on Friday and Saturday. For sure this weekend I have to go all in and try to make something.
“For sure our ambition is always to improve. Looking at my last two seasons in MotoGP, it was not the year to try and win the Championship, this one, because I struggled a lot in the past years, I crashed a lot, I broke my tibia last year so I had problems. This year the objective was to continue growing. After the summer break we made a step forwards, and in the last races another one. I am happy with the work we have done in the last races but for sure the work we have done this year can be better for next year.”
Marc Marquez: “I arrive here at Misano with the feeling of the test more than Austin’s race, we know Austin is a special circuit and still I feel a big difference between left and right corners. But anyway let’s see. In Misano 1 was better than what we expected before the race and it was a result I didn’t expect. This weekend we will try to do a small step, top five will be a good result, but it’s true that here and in Portimao I would like to be a bit faster on the right corner circuits.
“I keep improving but too slow for my… I mean it’s really slow. The comeback is difficult, even like this I’m able to ride in an acceptable way and I’m able to finish on the podium three times this year but still it’s not the way and the performance I would like. So we need to keep pushing, keep going, three races to go. But what I predicted for the second half of the season is what’s going on, I’m constantly in the top five and closer to the top guys, so this was the target and at the moment I can achieve it every weekend..”
Enea Bastianini: “I’m very happy about my last races, and here three weeks ago I was on the podium and it was incredible for me. Also, in Austin we did a really good race. It was difficult with the conditions; it was really hot and to finish the race wasn’t easy. I’m happy with the guys and the work inside the box, we made a good step and now it’s important we continue like this because it’s important. I’m confident ahead of Misano 2, it’s a nice track which I like a lot. It’s colder than last time, but we still have to be faster this time.
“I have to work a lot on this part of the weekend, always the qualifying is a disaster for me. Here in Misano it was one of my best, and I have to try and repeat that to be more competitive in this race.”
Luca Marini: “For sure I would like to be a bit more forward especially about the results in the races, but anyway I’m quite happy about the overall season. Like you said I finished all the races but it’s something I’m not proud of, I would prefer to stay more in front and sometimes do mistakes. But with this I’m able to understand how the tyres drop during the race, how the bike works and how the track changes in 40 minutes, and it’s great to understand what areas of my body I need to work more because on the Ducati I’m struggling a bit in the physical area. We worked a lot on the ergonomics and tried to use less strength – create a less physical bike. I’m quite happy now with the level I am compared to the start of the season, I have much more confidence and I’m feeling better, but we need to make some improvements in the last three races because I would like to stay in the top 10 positions.”
A very methodical rider in adapting, is that his approach to MotoGP™?
“Sincerely, yeah maybe it looks like it but in five years I can achieve and arrive to MotoGP, so I’m not so slow to adapt to the situation. I think when I arrived to the World Championship in Moto2 it was a completely different world compared to the European championship, and also with the Forward team we missed something on the technical side, so it was difficult to arrive to the top guys. But when everything was at 100% I was there and I was really fast and strong, and when I am comfortable on the bike I feel that I can do everything on the bike, I can be very strong. I want to have this feeling in the races to improve my position in the race.”
Valentino Rossi: “It’s a bit of a strange situation because it is already the second time here in Misano and the second race is particular, because usually we race just once, but with the Covid situation we’ve learned to stay at one track for more than one race. It’s a great chance to say Ciao! to all the Italian fans so it is great to race here in Misano at my home circuit. I hope the weather will be good for the weekend, because this period in Italy is a bit more difficult so I hope for a dry weekend, especially on Sunday. Try the maximum during the weekend to be competitive during the race.
“It’s a long story, more than 400 races in my career. I just have to say thank you to everybody. I have had incredible support all over the world, especially in Italy. I always give the maximium, we enjoy a lot together as it’s a long career with a lot of great races. We will see on Sunday, anyways after Misano we will have 2 more races, it’s always a sad moment when you arrive at the end but anyways it was good. We’ll enjoy it!”
Darryn Binder: “First off I would just like to say a big thanks to WithU RNF Yamaha Racing for giving me this opportunity. It feels unreal, it feels like I am in a different world right now. It’s a childhood dream to ride in MotoGP and not everybody gets this opportunity, and I definitely never expected it to come from Moto3. I’m super excited and it’s a huge step forward so it’s going to be a big learning curve for me, but yeah I’m super excited, I’m ready to work as hard as I can and it all starts at the end of the year when I get the first ride on the M1.
“You know it’s definitely an opportunity you can’t turn down, it’s a no brainer for me. It’s definitely a big step and I think I’ll be asking my brother a lot of questions and I’m going to be trying to follow his footsteps very closely over the holiday to train and try and get ready for the bigger bike. From my side I definitely feel like I’ve been in Moto3 for way too long, I’m quite big so I think my size should suit the big bike a bit better. It’s going to be a huge learning curve but I’m up for the hard work and I will do my best to get stronger and stronger.”
Now it’s time to get back out on track and let the racing do the talking. Tune in as Free Practice begins on Friday morning, before Sunday sees the lights go out for MotoGP™ at 14:00 (GMT +2)! Will we have a new Champion? We’re about to find out!