Fabio Quartararo admitted his first crash in the San Marino Grand Prix was due to him pushing “like it was the last lap” to catch Jack Miller as the Frenchman recorded a first DNF of the season.
The Petronas Yamaha SRT rider crashed twice in the 27-lap thriller, which was won by first-time premier class victor and teammate Franco Morbidelli.
Quartararo, who won the first two races of the season in Jerez, has failed to record a finish better than seventh in the four races since.
Sunday’s Misano race was a horror show from the get-go for Quartararo, who dropped from third to fifth at the start and battled to clear Yamaha factory ace Maverick Vinales for the first six laps.
Once Quartararo cleared Vinales, the 21-year-old set off after Pramac Racing’s Miller, but front-tyre overheating due to the Vinales battle caused an uncharacteristically slow-speed fall at Turn 4.
Relegated to the back, Quartararo visited the lane to check on a suspected engine issue, before a Turn 6 fall on cold tyres brought an end to a clumsy day.
“In the moment I overtook Maverick, I said, ‘Okay, I need to push to catch Jack’,” Quartararo said.
“But unfortunately, I pushed like it was the last lap, and there were 19 laps remaining.
“It’s a mistake that I did by myself. Of course, (following) Maverick the tyre overheated and the pressure went up a little bit.”
As Morbidelli became the fifth winner in six races, and the fourth first-time winner in 2020, Quartararo ceded the standings lead to Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, who finished seventh.
The top nine in the standings is separated by just 23 points. However, Quartararo admitted he won’t change his approach as he aims to regain the championship lead this weekend in the second race of the Misano double-header.
“Next race I want to fight again for the win,” Quartararo said.
“Today I think I got too excited, because when I was behind Maverick I was too easy, let’s say. I was riding, but I said ‘I can ride half a second faster’.
“As soon as I overtook him, I say I’m free to open my throttle and brake late. Unfortunately, the front tyre was overheated, the pressure was high, but more mistakes from myself.
“Honestly, many people think I have pressure because I’m leading the championship.
“But I can tell you that I really don’t care that I was first. The main goal when I arrived here was that I wanted to be fast and have the possibility to fight for the victory.
“It’s my second year, I’m 21. Of course, I want to win the championship, but there is not the pressure now that I need to think about the championship.”
Riders will return to Misano this weekend for the Emilia Romagna GP.