For the second race in succession, Fabio Quartararo comes into the French MotoGP looking poised to change the dynamic of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship after claiming a formidable pole on home soil in Le Mans.
On a day that saw him top FP3 and FP4 before pulling out a sensational flyer in the dying moments of Qualifying to deny Jack Miller, Petronas SRT Yamaha rider Quartararo lands a third MotoGP pole position of the season and the ninth of his young MotoGP career, one that has only spanned 27 races so far.
However, where it was Dovizioso dropping the ball as Quartararo romped to victory in Catalunya, this time Mir is on the back foot, qualifying down in 14th. By contrast, in terms of raw pace, it’s difficult to see who can take the fight to Quartararo.
“When I was watching Q1, Danilo did an impressive lap and I thought ‘wow’ we need to improve quite a bit to be at the front, so I am really happy because my first run was good. I was on the limit with the second one. I really wanted to do better and finally we have pole position.
“We know Ducati starts well but we can also get good starts, so I am not really thinking about the title [right now]. The first sector I am good, so I will do the best possible to make a good first corner and sector in the first lap. I am not thinking about Mir being far, I just want to enjoy [it].
“ We have a great pace to fight for the podium and victory, I want to remain calm, that’s what I am thinking for tomorrow rather than the championship.”
With Quartararo’s inch-perfect riding style drawing comparisons with three-time champion and now Yamaha stablemate Jorge Lorenzo, the Frenchman insists he hasn’t copied the Spaniard, nor is it as ‘perfect’ as it may seem.
“No, I don’t really look at Jorge’s riding style, it’s just a natural riding style that looks like his. I think that was something quite clear.
“In Moto2 when I won my first race in Barcelona, from then I found it was a good point, to be precise. But you always make mistakes, even if you don’t see them. Here I am quite precise, some tracks are easier than others but I am feeling great today.”