La Marseillaise sounds at the Losail circuit in Qatar, a few kilometers from Doha, the capital that gives its name to the second grand prix of the season. The music fills the chest of Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha), winner of the race, and Johann Zarco (Ducati Pramac), second and new leader of the World Championship. They are two happy men. It is, especially that of Yamaha, which shakes off the pressure that it carries behind its back after a 2020 in which it was forced to win after the loss of Marc Márquez. So impelled to display all the talent that was assumed since he began to break records for precocity as a child. Forced to prove he deserved the official Yamaha that had been taken from the Valentino Rossi myth
He deserves it
And he plans to celebrate it with a feast at McDonald's. I am 21 years old. And very hungry.
“They told me that I was assuming extra pressure by putting myself in Valentino's shoes, I am very happy. I've always dreamed of winning in Qatar ”, he concedes when he gets off the bike. He didn't make it on the first try, a week ago, when the one who won was his Yamaha teammate Maverick Viñales, but he did it this time. He had a lesson well learned. In addition, he had no qualms about admitting that he had to make up the sessions with the same psychologist who already helped him better manage his emotions when he made the move from Moto2 to MotoGP three years ago.
The scenario was the same as last Sunday, the of the Qatar GP. And the result was similar. On the circuit where the Ducati fly, when the fastest on Saturday, Martín (Ducati Pramac), burned all his bullets leading the pack, a Yamaha won, the one from Quartararo . And like seven days ago, the award went to those who had the most patience and best preserved their tires.
Fifth on the starting grid, eighth after the first corners, the Frenchman has already learned not to lose his temper in the first laps , when the M1 suffers the most, with a full tank and fresh tires. So he decided to take it easy and take care of his tires. The same strategy that Rins (Suzuki), Viñales or Bagnaia (Ducati) tried. Although not always everything goes as planned when competing at 360 km / h and the fight is played to the millimeter.
When the first eleven laps of a race were covered with a total of 22, he noticed that Viñales was beginning to print a very high pace, the Nice one activated the attack plan. Especially after seeing how the one from Roses tried to overtake him. He wanted to win this time. He passed Rins eight laps from the end and placed fourth. It was with six laps to go that he took advantage of a mistake by Bagnaia, who went long at the end of the long Losail straight, to slip in the third. He was where he wanted at the perfect time.
passed Zarco and placed second with five laps to go. He put the exuberance of the Ducati engine to the test on the straight and knew that he had to choose the first corners to overtake Martín, first from the first corner, his rookie effort commendable, rewarded with the final podium. Only then would he have the entire track to gain a few more meters and have enough advantage when he reached that one kilometer straight where the red bikes have no rival if the top speed is measured.
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comeback But motorcycling has these things. That sometimes it is not the motorcycle that runs the most that wins. Because they count many more things. The technique. Smooth riding. And the dexterity in the curves. Quartararo demonstrated all of this in a race that Martín wanted and could not control, another pilot with a delicate wrist who served his partner Zarco as a guide. “Jorge was so clean on the line that he knew he was riding super safe behind him,” confessed the new MotoGP leader.
Zarco presents his credentials, despite forming in a satellite team, with his two second places. He catches up with the Yamaha of Quartararo and Viñales, challenges the official Ducati riders – sixth, Bagnaia; ninth, Miller–, and the sweet Suzuki –Rins, regular on a circuit that never did well, was fourth; Mir finished seventh. There is no trace, for now, of the Honda – the first in classification was Pol Espargaró, 13th – while the paddock awaits the return of Marc Márquez, scheduled for the next appointment, in the Portuguese Algarve.
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