“The race was especially good because I had the opportunity to fight with other riders, which is always important. It‘s been a while since I last overtook so many riders in one race. Early on in the race, I felt this special feeling with the bike. Also in FP4 when we did the race simulation I felt fantastic and also in qualifying. I‘m very grateful, because winning is not easy, so we are going to enjoy today. For the coming race we will work and try to improve again, because we know our competitors will also improve. I just want to say ’congratulations‘ to the team, because we did a good job this winter. I think this win is very good for the morale of the team, because it‘s always important to trust ourselves. We still have some things to work on, especially on the race starts. But, overall, I think we can do a good job this season.”
Francesco Bagnaia – P3
“I’m thrilled to start the 2021 Championship with a podium: it was my first race with the Ducati Lenovo Team, and I’m coming from a rather difficult end to the 2020 season. Today I tried really hard to keep the lead and close all the doors on Viñales. Unfortunately, I think I made the wrong strategy and wore the tyres down too much at the start. After seven laps, I started to struggle a lot, especially on the rear, and I think that was also due to the different track conditions today compared to the last few days. We still have one more race here in Qatar, so we will try next Sunday again.”
Joan Mir – P4
“I feel good, it was a nice race. I made a step this morning in warm-up and I regained my feeling with the bike – that was the most important thing. The bike worked so well today, and I’m really grateful to the team. I tried to push hard and get the most from the bike and the tyres, recovering places and managing well. I’m happy with how it worked out even if it would’ve been great to finish second! But I had a feeling those Ducatis would overtake me on the straight in the slipstream, and I’m still satisfied with fourth. We’ll take what we learned and go for next weekend. I’m feeling positive and ready for more.”
Fabio Quartararo – P5
“I was feeling so strong in the beginning of the race. As soon as I overtook Jack [Miller], I was able to catch Joan [Mir] so fast, but then I noticed a big drop in the rear tyre, which we didn‘t expect, because I didn‘t have that during the test or the practice sessions. I decided to adjust my riding a little, but Maverick still overtook me. He was just in another league and had much more grip than I did. In the end I could overtake Rins and Miller because I was riding in a different way, so that‘s something positive. Last year, on difficult days we made mistakes and finished in P14 or crashed. Today we are P5 and scored 11 points, which is good on a tough day like this, and I was 3s behind Maverick, so that is not that bad.”
Alex Rins – P6
“My start was not one of my best ones, so I had to push a lot to recover the positions I lost and catch up with the leading group. Already six laps before Joan passed me I was beginning to struggle with the tyres, so I think I cooked them. I did my best, and I’m pretty happy, but in the end I couldn’t manage to go higher. The bike felt good and my pace was strong, so I’m ready for next week!”
“I am happy. Seventh place may not seem like much, but I showed that I am able to stay with the best all the way to the end, with a gap behind the leader that had never before been so low. In some stages of the race I was cautious, especially overtaking, where I tried to be clean and not risk, and that certainly cost us a few tenths. But after the positive tests and after all the efforts of the team here and in Noale, it was important not to make any mistakes. Now we definitely know that we can be in the game. We are fast, not only in practice, but also when it counts, and that is fundamental.”
Pol Espargaro – P8
“It has been a race of two halves. The start of the race, honestly, wasn’t good as I took too much time to settle into my pace and then I lost some precious time. In the middle of the race, I was one of the fastest riders and I am happy but also angry because I feel that I could have done better. But it is still just the first race so we have to look at the race from this perspective and I needed to finish the race, a crash would not have been good at all. I have gained a lot of information and now we can go again next weekend in the same place understanding our potential better.”
Jack Miller – P9
“That was less than I was hoping for on my 100th MotoGP race, that’s for sure. When you’re at the top after the practice sessions and you qualify on the second row, ninth is less than I would have signed up for … but the good news is that we have another race here in Qatar next week so we can get it right. We have work to do, that’s for sure, but we have the time to do it which is a positive. But that wasn’t the race we were wanting, or let’s say expecting.
“I had an awesome start as you saw – our bike is a bit of a rocket ship off the line – and was sitting pretty comfortably in third for the first few laps, getting used to the conditions and saving some tyre for later in the race. I felt extremely comfortable in third position after (Johann) Zarco passed me, I thought I could let them go and bide my time, just be careful and calm with the tyres and I could come back to them when it was time.
“It was pretty windy out there, not ideal, but the same for everyone I guess. I still felt I could push as I needed to, and with about 14 laps or so to go, whenever it was that Maverick (Vinales) came past me anyway, I thought ‘OK, now it’s time to start upping the pace’. Initially it was alright but after a few laps I started to lose the rear grip on mid-corner, so the managing of the tyre I did early on didn’t work. It was the right side of the tyre when I was off the gas, I had a big moment in Turn 5 and I lost the rear and that was the first warning sign.
“I hung on for fourth until there were about seven laps left but I was getting dropped after that, and to be seven seconds down at the end, we have work to do.
“Maverick rode a really impressive race for the win and hats off to him, but to be honest I wasn’t overly impressed with Yamaha’s pace. Suzuki – you saw (Joan) Mir come through and if it was any other circuit he would have finished second, but he got swamped by Zarco and my teammate Pecco (Bagnaia) at the end on the run to the line, us Ducati riders have a bit of power to play with. I said all along I felt Suzuki were sandbagging in testing and they clearly still have a very good bike, they weren’t world champions last year by accident. They’re very good with their tyre usage and can push late in the race, same as last year basically.
“So like I said, the best part of having another race at this track next week is that I get to study and see what happened so we can fix it. We are a factory team and seven points is better than zero, but we need to understand what happened today and learn from it, we can’t do that again. And for me, I was fast most of the weekend but had a couple of shit little crashes that affected my confidence a little bit, but I still felt comfortable. I felt like I had a package to fight with – well, for half the race at least. We have one more race here so we may as well make the most of it.”
Enea Bastianini – P10
“It’s been amazing! Unfortunately, I have not been able to activate the system that lowers the bike at the race exit so I could not get better. In the first few laps I felt a little tired, the power of the Ducati that I have to manage is a lot. It’s taken me a little while with the new tires to be behind the others, but in the end I feel better until I reach the tenth. I saw that I could reach seventh place, but five laps from the end I made a small mistake and failed the trajectory losing the possibility of overtaking. I am very happy with the result, we have worked very well. My goal was to finish in the Top 10 and I’ve made it.”
Stefan Bradl – P11
“At the end of the day we have done a good first race and I am pleased. I think we suffered a little bit because of Qualifying, in the race we were able to run well and fight a lot. At the start of the race, I was maybe a little too conservative with the front tyre, I think Pol was more aggressive during this time and I could have gone with him, but it is better to bring the bike home than take too many risks in the first race. Maybe we could have done a little more and stayed with Pol, which would have been nice, but I am still pleased.”
Valentino Rossi – P12
“We expected more, especially after qualifying yesterday, but I struggled in the race. After several laps I had a problem with the tyres, especially the rear one, which is something that we also saw on Friday. We were hoping that it would have been less of a problem today, with the cooler temperatures, but unfortunately the feeling was similar and I lost some positions. I feel like I had a good start compared to the other Yamahas, but some others had a stronger one, I feel like we entered the first corner with a good speed though. Now we try to fix it and make it better for next week.”
“We finished a little ahead of where we started, which is positive and we know our potential is much better. We couldn’t finish stronger because of the front tire. We lost quite a lot of grip before mid-race distance and that compromised our performance. I kept losing time to save a crash. We feel our bike is strong but we cannot compete over the race distance with this compound tyre.”
Brad Binder – P14
“It’s good to have the first race of the season under our belts but we didn’t finish close to where we wanted. For sure the whole team and I expected much more. We have to accept reality and there is work to be done at this circuit. In the first part of the race I thought we could be competitive but at half race distance I completely finished my front tire. It was a case of either bring the bike home safely at the pace I was doing or lose the front. It was difficult but now we have data from the first race and we can move on from here.”
Luca Marini – P16
“First race in MotoGP, I’m glad I finished it. I didn’t have speed, and I’ve had a worse felling than I had in the test, I was wasted a lot of time on the corner. Now we have a few days to analyze the data. I like the possibility of being able to run back here next week as I know we can improve a lot and get to be in best positions.”
Iker Lecuona – P17
“For one side, I am happy, because I finished the race although I was struggling with my arm. On the first lap, I felt very good with the bike and could fight for the points and with many riders. Therefore, I’m satisfied and also because my performance was pretty good. Later on, I did some mistakes due to my arm, I lost control of my bike, so I had to stay calm in order to finish the race. Although I was struggling in the middle of the race, I could gain a bit more confidence towards the end. I could overtake Morbidelli and was fighting with Marini, but finally he was in front of me by just a tenth of a second. I’m quite happy, also because this was my first ever race here in Qatar. I want to thank my team for their work, we changed something in the Warm Up and it helped me a lot. Now I can’t wait for next week.”
Franco Morbidelli – P18
“It was a difficult race for us. We had a problem on the grid but we decided to give it a go anyway. Out of respect for my team and the work they do I wanted to complete the race, also so that we might understand the problem better. It is something we need to investigate further, I think we might have seen it at other times in the weekend, but during the race it was very clear that something was wrong. It was unfortunate that we had to have the bad race, but the good thing is that we have data to understand what was going on. I hope we can fix something for next week.”
Lorenzo Savadori – P19
“A difficult race, both because of my shoulder that was bothering me, especially at the beginning, and also because we still need to improve. I don’t have the right feeling to push. I struggle with a full tank and managing the tyres. Finishing the race was important because, analysing the data, we’ll be able to continue working on the RS-GP. The bike definitely has great potential, as Aleix’s performance demonstrates. Now, during the days off, I’ll try to recuperate as much as possible to be ready for next weekend.”
Takaaki Nakagami – DNF
“Of course I’m not happy becuase I didn’t finish the race. There’s not much to say, I’m really sorry to my team as they worked really hard and yesterday we made a big step and had confidence for today’s race. But in the end, I’m not sure as I didn’t make a mistake and the data didn’t show a strange feeling. Anyway the crash was at turn nine and we need to understand what happened at that moment, fortunately I’m ok and we have a few days off to prepare for the next round here in Qatar. Once again, I want to say sorry to all my team, but we have to be strong and think about the next round.”
Alex Marquez – DNF
“In the end it was not a positive day and I’m sad for the team and everybody who worked so hard this weekend. Honestly, I had a horrific start and I lost a lot of time at the first corner and was also touched at the rear by (Danilo) Petrucci. Then I was in a group and was trying to overtake, but it was difficult to overtake at that point. When I was alone I was in really good shape and in a really good rhythm, but when I caught the people ahead it was so difficult to overtake. I did a small mistake that cost us the race, so sorry to the team. But I think we’re in good shape and working well and I think next weekend we have another chance to change the situation and do better in the championship.”
Danilo Petrucci – DNF
“I don’t have many words. I’m just very sorry. Unfortunately, I touched another rider and crashed really hard at turn two. This is probably the worst thing, that could happen for my first race with the team. The good news is, that I’m not injured, which is super important. I’m so sorry for my guys and for everyone. We’ll try again next week!”
Massimo Mergalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director
“The ideal plan for today was to have a good start, then let Maverick and Fabio make the most of the M1, riding Yamaha lines. However, we expected that our competitors would be strong at the start, so it would almost be impossible for us to lead into Turn 1. But Maverick and Fabio knew what they had to do. They made sure not to waste any unnecessary time battling each other and instead worked together as they rode to the top 3. In the end it was Maverick who had the race-winning pace today. His ride was truly stunning! Fabio wasn‘t quite able to fight for the podium because of an unexpected rear-tyre drop, but he still put up a strong fight for fifth and collected some important points for himself and the team. We are very happy overall. Starting the season with a win is a great morale boost and a testament to Yamaha‘s and the team‘s hard work over the winter. Now we will have a few days of rest and then we will be back on track on Wednesday to prepare for GP2, and we will be looking into the issue that Fabio had with his rear tyre today.”
Shinichi Sahara – Suzuki Team Leader and Project Manager
“Our riders started from ninth and 10th on the grid but they still fought for the podium, and they were very close to achieving it. Joan managed to save the tyre a little bit better, and he was in second but he lost out to the two Ducatis on the straight, maybe because his line out of the last corner was a little wide. Alex also had very good pace but it dropped a little in the last part of the race because he lost some grip. But we’re very happy and we’ve learned a lot from today: We’ll be going for the podium again next week.”
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager
“We were able to confirm once again that our riders are able to fight at the front. Joan was very, very close to the podium, Alex too at one point. So I’m disappointed for them, but at the same time we’re feeling satisfied and happy. We’ve scored good points in this opening round and we’re looking ahead to next weekend.”
Razlan Razali – Petronas SRT Team Principal
“Today did not go as we expected it to, for various reasons. We know Valentino experienced some issues with the feeling of the rear, so now we will listen to his feedback and see what we can do for the next GP. Franco also had some mechanical problems, which we are looking into because it is not like him to be in that position. We take the positives that he was able to collect data to help us rectify the issue. We know that the Yamaha is a great bike and I want to say congratulations to Maverick [Viñales] on his win.”
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager
“We knew it would be a tough season-start for us here but the beginning of the race was strong and we were right in the middle of the group. We suffered in the last third though and lost the lap-times so we have to work on this. It’s not a disaster – we are 11 seconds behind the winner – but this category is very close and we have to find these seconds. Miguel and Brad did well to bring the bike back and score points. We’re sorry to see Danilo crash in Turn 2 but it looks like there was a collision and Iker made acceptable lap-times at the end of the race. We have to step up now and help the boys to be faster.”
Hervé Poncharal – Tech3 KTM Team Manager
“It was definitely not the weekend for the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing team. We’ve been working hard all week long and although the grid positions where not what we were expecting, we were quite confident we could improve during the race and score some points with our two riders, especially with Danilo and it would have been nice for his first ever race with KTM.
“Unfortunately, his race didn’t even last a lap. It looks like there was a contact with another rider and this is very sad and very disappointing to start our new adventure like that. But it’s part of racing unfortunately. We hope he is going to be ok, because he was complaining a bit about shoulder pain.
“Iker did a brave race. Unfortunately, he still has some issues with his right arm, which caused him a few slow laps. Otherwise, the speed was there and on quite a few laps he was as quick as the leaders. So, clearly, Iker has got a great potential to ride a MotoGP bike fast, we knew that before.
“Let’s hope our two guys will be feeling good physically for next week. Let’s wait and see what Miguel and Brad have said and let’s meet and think about what to do to be better for next weekend. Although the final positions where not what we were hoping for, the. Situation is a lot more positive than it looks. Let’s keep on working, let’s keep on pushing and let’s see what is going to happen here in Losail next week.
Ruben Xaus – Team Avintia Esponsorama Racing
“It’s been a good weekend for the whole team. Bastianini, as his nickname says, has behaved like a “beast.” We knew that the first laps were important for don’t lose the rhythm . We have been the first private bike and the best debutante. I’m very happy for him and the team. These results reflect the work and constancy of the all team.
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