“Starting together and fighting together would be nice”: the gloves come off on the Algarve
Thursday, 04 November 2021
The dust has somewhat settled after a dramatic title decider last time out, but now it’s time to get back in gear for another stunner. The Grande Prémio Brembo do Algarve got underway on Thursday with the Pre-Event Press Conference, with newly-crowned 2021 MotoGP™ World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) joined by second overall Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), Repsol Honda Team’s podium finisher Pol Espargaro, home hero Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and the leader in the battle for Rookie of the Year Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama), also fresh from the rostrum.
Here are some key quotes!
Fabio Quartararo: “My voice is still quite bad but it was super nice to celebrate with the team after Misano on Sunday and I spent a few days with my family and yeah, it was super nice! It was also tough to go back to training after a few parties but it was necessary and of course, to feel ready for the race. But of course it was a really special week after winning the title in Misano.
“Honestly I feel – I would not say pressure because I achieved my goal. I will give my best, of course I come here to fight for the victory and for the podium but it’s not something I can really control. I will give my best but we will see the final result. It would be nice to achieve the triple crown and to see if we can achieve it!”
Francesco Bagnaia: “I think that it is more because I lost the race than the Championship, because I was sure Fabio deserved that more. I was a lot of points behind and also, I was winning the race in Misano. If I had won, then I would have been like 36 points behind, and with 36 points we have a lot of possibility to win the title. In any case, I tried my all. It was not our objective to win the Championship this season because I was coming from two very difficult seasons. My first two years in MotoGP I struggled a lot. This year I learned a lot, I grew with the team and in the last part of the season I was fighting for the Championship, but I was too far behind. In any case we tried. I knew with the hard front I was more competitive, but I crashed. I tried my all and this was the only possibility to remain in the Championship fight, to win the race. And I tried.
“For sure these two races will be nice to do. Now Fabio doesn’t have any pressure. So, I would really like to fight with him, not like in Misano, but starting together and fighting together would be nice to have. They are two different tracks. In April/May I was fast here, in Valencia I’ve never been fast in my life so I have to understand how to do it.”
Pol Espargaro: “This is a place where I enjoy quite a lot and in the past year with KTM I performed and, for sure it wasn’t amazingly good but it was a decent race and I almost finished on the podium. But in the beginning of the year we came here with many many problems, we struggled a lot, I had a big crash at the last corner and I don’t have the best memories with the Honda here. Anyway I came here during the summer break to train so I have the layout fresher maybe than the others which is nice, also the bike has changed quite a lot from that moment at the beginning of the year. Honestly speaking we have more possibilities to have a great weekend than what we did at the beginning of the year, so really looking forward to jumping on the bike again after the nice vibes we took in the past weekend in Misano.
“From the past races I have been, you know, working in that direction thinking that this year is over for me. It was over a lot of races ago, I started to think about the future with Honda, we tried to do the maximum we could with the current package, thinking of next year, trying to generate or copy what we have inside the rules with next year’s bike. We had some benefits and some contrasts, we had a lot of problems in Texas and then we come to Misano and we had all the contrasts, we had the benefits with the current package thinking about next year. There are these pros and cons, thinking about next year, I’m looking to just make a reset. With all the experience and knowledge I have with Honda I sometimes feel quite comfortable and I can achieve great results, start from zero with a good base, and from there try to enjoy the bike. I haven’t enjoyed much because I’ve been struggling quite a lot. The future I think is bright but we have to work harder than the others because we start with a disadvantage.”
Miguel Oliveira: “For sure we get to a home GP with a different kind of mentality. Beginning of the season we were having too many problems and the package was not really complete. The conditions were much different from what we had in November the previous season, so definitely we didn’t have anything going our way, and now towards the end of the championship even if the result was not finished in Misano, at least I had a good connection back with the bike. Already in Texas I found a little bit more of this connection and although if the result is not there the feeling is there, so I think this is the most important thing to build a good weekend. For sure the key is to start tomorrow with this feeling, give a good feedback to the team and finish these two last races of the season on a high.
“We have every reason to believe that we can achieve a good result. Of course, it’s always depending on a lot of things, but we know that the intention is there, and we have every reason to believe in that direction. The opponents are going to be tough of course, everyone likes this track, everyone who goes fast on it, so it’s going to be about adapting better to every situation on the track and especially during the race understanding what is a good line and the normal racing routine at the weekend.”
Enea Bastianini: “I took another podium in the last race and I am very happy about this. Now I have an advantage over Jorge Martin but he can be fast like me, especially here in Portimão, but in Valencia I’m not very fast and I have to improve in this area. In Misano we did a good job in the race but not on Saturday because I did three crashes in eight laps, I think, but we can be Rookie (of the Year) this year and we can battle for this.
“I like Portimão a lot, it’s a very strange circuit but I like, it’s one of my favourites. You know it’s not easy to be fast here, and I’m advantaged in respect to Jorge because he’s crashed in the last races but we have to stay concentrated and understand what we can do to be competitive in the weekend and also on Saturday.”
Stoner returns! The two-time Champion and MotoGP™ Legend stops in at Portimão
It’s been a while but the paddock in Portimão has the pleasure of welcoming back MotoGP™ Legend and two-time premier class Champion Casey Stoner for the weekend! And of course, one priority on his first day was a check in with Ducati. Both Ducati Lenovo Team’s Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia were on hand in the box for a photo op (and a natter) on Thursday. Stay tuuuuuned!