“Everyone will make a step forward”: Riders revved up for the Austrian GP
The pre-event Press Conference kicks off the Bitci Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich as we return to the Red Bull Ring for take two
Thursday, 12 August 2021
And… we’re back! To back. The Red Bull Ring plays host once again this weekend for the Bitci Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, and the pre-event Press Conference got the weekend underway with plenty to talk about.
Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), fresh from third place, was joined Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing); second in the standings, as well as reigning World Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Sunday charger Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and, of course, the man of the moment: rookie and Styrian GP winner Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing).
Here are some key quotes:
Fabio Quartararo: “Third again would also be a good place for us but we have seen a few things that can help. But I guess everyone will make a step but we looked at a few things about my riding style and the bike, we can improve a little bit but for sure not a massive step. We know that after the first races it’s difficult to make a big step, but we can improve over one lap pace. I was great in FP4 but in the race I had a big drop on the rear and the front guys were much faster. That’s the plan to improve the consistency.”
On teammate Maverick Viñales:
“I have no proper comments. Not really surprised. I think and I guess many people know what happened. For me it’s no problem to ride alone. Difficult to say something, better to ask Yamaha people than myself. For me it won’t change anything about my weekend.”
On the Moto2 rider market:
“Actually I made the best result in Moto2 in the best moment. I won in Catalunya, and more than the win was the race in Assen. I was half a second faster than the first guy, I think it was Pecco, about that race I came from really far doing strong overtakes. Between Assen and Sachsenring I knew I was going to go to MotoGP. I think it will be interesting to see, I had my seat in MotoGP just because of two good races. Right now a lot of riders in Moto2 will make their best and have this kind of motivation. Let’s see who is going there.”
Johann Zarco: “The fourth place would be better than the sixth to resume the weekend, because it’s true that I could not be pretty fast last weekend. But the race was quite OK, just this last lap I was struggling I think with the rear tyre and Nakagami and Brad, they caught me, just too quick, I could not hold the gap. I was disappointed immediately after the race because when the rest seems quite OK but then you lose two positions in one lap, or the last one, you get frustrated but then it was not a bad race and I could see good things. I was happy for my teammate, that he won the race, and this was even more interesting to confirm what I’m feeling on the bike, that it’s possible to win. I just need to get a bit more a confidence in a few areas to make this step up to the podium and to, why not victory, so that’s why when I could analyse my performance, then I was enjoying more with the team the good result of Jorge and this made the Sunday evening quite OK.
On the note of his teammate’s win:
“The motivation is the right motivation because it confirms really the potential of the bike that I think it’s one of the best bike, that can be always on the podium, or can fight for it and even for the victory. This confirmation helps Ducati to make me do an extra push and since Qatar 2, the potential of Jorge was there with the pole position, he led almost all the race and I was following him. The bad thing has been the crash in Portimao and after that he got difficult races, but he showed that the summer break helped him to recover well and then he was again riding like the Martinator. That’s the good sign with a bit less experience, having immediately the right performance really means that we, I say we as Ducati riders, we just need to make this step up, but it is easier to say than do, but it’s the right motivation.”
Joan Mir: “I just think that we did a great race. I don’t think about if we will get the title at the end or not but it’s the first point to think about. It’s clear Suzuki made a great job this summer to find something more and finally it looks like this work helped, and we could see better performance. Let’s try to keep improving, it will be the key. Last year we were able to get the title but through consistency. At the beginning of the year I said I want to try and win more races, to be faster. At the minute I’m not looking at the Championship, I’m just giving 100% to try and get victories. It’s what I will try to do every weekend and at the end we will see, we will fight to the end that’s for sure. But first of all we need to continue like that.
“It’s so important to qualify well. For me, to start in 2nd row, is like starting from pole. A lot of work you don’t have to do on the first laps and also tyre that you save. Sometimes I think that starting from P14 or P11 is possible to arrive to the podium and maybe one day you’ll get the victory, but there’s a lot of risk you have to take. To fight for the title and to be strong in every race, starting there is not possible. We have to continue improving in that area. If we improve the pace we will improve the lap time, this is clear. So we are following the right steps to try and improve.”
Brad Binder: “You know for me I don’t have a home Grand Prix, so this is about as close it’s going to get with the Red Bull Ring and KTM. Last weekend you know I struggled in in most of the sessions and there wasn’t really a session where I was really close to the front, but I was always able to do my same lap time consistently but not going much faster. I mean in the race I had quite OK start and I pushed as hard as I could to the end. Coming into the last couple laps I could see I was catching Taka and Johann and yeah, I managed to make the moves count on the last lap and come across in fourth place, so for sure it was a really good result for me, especially starting back in 16th. Coming into this weekend after last week’s race we understand a lot more. I’ve found a few key areas where we need to try and improve sure and yeah, I think we have what it takes to try and fight amongst that podium battle for sure, just need to improve a couple little areas and it can really go a long way so all in all it really looking forward to getting the second GP started.
“As we all know we’re getting a harder option front tyre but whether it’s going to work or not for us, we’re still going to have to wait and see. It is true we are missing support in the front and it’s making it very difficult for us to brake because we have a lot of front locking and whenever we need to flick into the corners we don’t quite have the support, so it’s making it really difficult for us to use the strongest points of our bike, which is corner entry. So far looking at the weekend it’s going to be interesting to see if we can make the harder tyre work, because in the past we always benefitted more having a harder front tyre, but yeah, like I said the big question is if it will work or not, and I really hope it does because we do struggle a lot with the medium option. It’s going to be a good weekend for us to try and figure out what we can do and hopefully try to make it all work.”
Marc Marquez: “Last weekend about the physical condition I expected better but ok, it’s not an excuse. We are working and improving race by race so this is important. This circuit is one of the most demanding on the right arm. Anyway during the weekend I felt ok, I felt comfortable and fast. In the first race I felt I had good potential. I felt fast and felt I was able to finish in a… not in a top position but with the top five. But in the second race, from the warm up lap I didn’t feel the bike and I felt strange. Even the first laps there were a few mistakes but even then I didn’t have the pace, I was 0.7s slower than FP4. We will understand tomorrow, if I go out on the same bike again. The answer will be there.
“I’m working on my side to be better and come back as before. I’m not riding in a natural way, this is one goal. Honda are working hard, in the summer they worked very hard. They are testing many things in my part of the garage, this is also important to feel the reaction of your factory. It’s true testing many things during a race weekend isn’t the best way to find the best result on Sunday, but now I have nothing to lose and nothing to win. We are trying to prepare 2022 well, try many things. Sometimes you get confused during a weekend, but we believe it’s the correct way. It’s true all Honda riders are struggling. I was checking the standings and I’m leading the Honda riders with 50 (points). That means Honda riders are struggling. We need to understand and keep working and believe, because it looks better race by race.”
Jorge Martin: “Well it’s difficult to believe it. All your life fighting and training to win this race and then you do it. Yeah, it’s difficult to believe but yeah, I feel great. The good thing is we now have another race so now we need to focus, so you don’t have too much time to enjoy it, and maybe this is a good point. I don’t want to be so high! A lot of people texting me, a lot of different people, I’m really happy and really focused on this weekend.
“I don’t know, I need to try. Maybe this weekend I can try. In the past Joan and I raced together but he’s just another rider. If you think you about the fact you have a World Champion behind you, or if you think he is stronger than you, then you will make a lot of mistakes and destroy your race. I hope in the future I hope I can battle with the other guys, like Marc and Johann, and learn.”
That’s it from Thursday! Free Practice begins on Friday morning, before MotoGP™ heads back out for another round in the Red Bull Ring on Sunday at 14:00 (GMT +2).