Penalty seals Quartararo podium
By Kyle White
Sunday 25th June, 2023 - 5:14pm
It wasn’t how Fabio Quartararo wished to seal his first MotoGP podium of a difficult season, but the factory Yamaha rider says it ‘feels good’ nonetheless.
Quartararo finished fourth in the Sprint race at Assen behind Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder, but was promoted to third after the South African received a three-second Long Lap equivalent penalty for exceeding the track limits.
Former champion Quartararo says he now hopes to fight for the rostrum again in Sunday’s main race at a circuit where the Yamaha M1 is able to compensate for its power disadvantage through Assen’s famous fast and flowing sweeps.
“It was a great race, happy in one way but frustrating a little bit because I was behind Brad all the race and I felt I had a little bit more pace, but I had no opportunity to overtake,” Quartararo said.
“I finished in a good way, we were really close to the top guys, so I’m happy and hopefully tomorrow in the longer race we can be up there.
“I feel sorry for him because I don’t like to make this kind of podium, but we have to take it and it feels good.”
Quartararo did not see Binder’s track limits infringement but was also concentrating hard in an effort to avoid a penalty himself after receiving an early warning.
“I have no idea [where Binder exceeded the limit] and I was also on the track limits from the beginning, so I was trying to be really careful,” he said.
“I feel much more on the limit. I was catching [Binder] in one way but he was going his way, and Turn 5 is one of the corners [where he was faster than Binder], but out of Turn 8, out of 11, out of the last corner – they go away, but I have to fight, I have to take the best.
“If it’s P3 or P5, or whatever the position is, I have to give my hundred per-cent.
“For tomorrow’s race I think it can be okay, the problem we have is basically a lack of power, but here is a more flowing track and we will have to take the opportunities when we have them, and I think this is what we did today.
“I’m feeling sorry for Brad because it happened to me in Misano a few years ago,” he added.
“But we did our best, I think that our best was really good. I had a little bit of margin but I could not pass Brad, so hopefully tomorrow in the long race I can manage a better start and fight for the podium also.”
Quartararo twisted his ankle while jogging before Assen but says he wasn’t adversely affected in the 13-lap Sprint dash.
“To be honest, not a lot, I just had pain. The only problem I have is the leg is shaking a lot so hopefully tomorrow in the longer distance there will not be any shaking,” he said.
“I’m happy, but it’s not the best podium because I finished fourth at the end. But I’m pretty happy, great to be here and hopefully we can make a great race tomorrow that will be super-important.”