Third ‘best we could do’ says Quartararo after last-lap Martin fight
By Kyle White
Wednesday 27th September, 2023 - 9:30am
Fabio Quartararo realised Jorge Martin was having problems at the end of the Indian Grand Prix, but despite getting past the Spaniard on the last lap, the Yamaha rider was powerless to hold onto second place.
Pramac Ducati’s Martin was 1.5s ahead of Quartararo in the closing stages of the 21-lap race at the Buddh International Circuit, which was shortened from 24 laps due to the stifling heat.
However, Martin lost time when he slowed to zip up his leathers to avoid incurring a possible penalty, before a mistake on the last lap when he ran wide at Turn 4 allowed Quartararo to pounce for second place.
Martin, who later said he was losing concentration on the final laps due to dehydration, fought back with a spectacular pass into Turns 5 and 6, diving around Quartararo’s outside to reclaim the runner-up spot.
It was a robust move, but former world champion Quartararo had no complaints and said third was the best he could do as he returned to the podium for the first time since the Grand Prix of the Americas at the Circuit of The Americas in April.
“It was okay,” Quartararo said of Martin’s final lap overtake.
“Just was frustrating because I tried to make the best exit possible, but they just rocket [past] with the grip, so hopefully we can find a solution as quickly as possible.”
Quartararo was aware Martin had a problem when he slowed to adjust his leathers, but a lack of grip prevented him from being able to fully capitalise on the Pramac rider’s difficulties.
“I didn’t know if it was arm pump or the leathers, but I could see he was doing something strange in Turns 10 and 11,” he said.
“I tried to push until the end but I was still so much on the limit with the tyre, so that was the best we could do this weekend.
“When he overtook me from Turn 5 to Turn 6, the grip I had on the left was really bad and I could not do anything.
“Even arriving to Turn 10, I was there, but the grip I had going in and on the brakes was really bad – I couldn’t really stop, so we finished in P3 but we clearly know where we are losing a lot of time on this track, on acceleration, top speed and the grip we have.
“So, we have to work hard to fight with these guys,” Quartararo added.
“It was a great weekend overall, especially our pace in qualifying, so I’m pretty happy about this weekend and hopefully we can do many more this year.
“We have to be clever and as soon as we have small opportunities to make this kind of result, we have to take it.”
Quartararo gained a place when Francesco Bagnaia crashed out of second position on the factory Ducati, blowing the title race wide open as Martin cut the gap at the top to 13 points with seven rounds to go.
“He was in front of me and lost the front; that was not really my problem, I just had to stay focused,” said Quartararo.
“I was struggling a lot to stop the bike, especially on the left corners, but we have to be happy with this podium.”