MotoGP 2021 – Round Seven – Catalunya
Miguel Oliveira – P1
“This is almost hard to put into words. I had one of the best races of my career so far. Everything was so hard; the tire management and keeping my cool when Fabio was putting pressure on me for so many laps. I really kept cool when he overtook me and took my chance on the straight to get him back. It was a perfect race, and I cannot thank the Red Bull KTM guys enough for giving me a perfect machine to get back here to the top of the podium. I also want to thank the fans. Everything has been amazing, having the public here and getting back to normal.”
Johann Zarco – P2
“I am very happy, it was an incredible race filled with the unexpected and many twists. I tried my best, and second place is a great result. We worked very well and I couldn’t be happier.”
Jack Miller – P3
“So, that was a good day for me. Really good. First time on the podium here in Barcelona, I gained a place in the championship to be third now, and I kept my good run going. Definitely no complaints here.
“The race went really well for me and I executed the plan to perfection. Well, nearly anyway. I got out front in the beginning and I was trying to manage the pace, but I missed a gear going back into Turn 5 and I lost a couple of positions. From there, the front tyre temperature went through the roof so I spent quite a while trying to avoid being in the slipstream of the guys in front so I didn’t send it over the edge. I tried to get some cold air on the tyre but the temperature just wouldn’t come down, so that got the stress level up a bit. It was playing on my mind, definitely.
“I hung in there and it looked like fourth was the best I could do, but then I had something go my way when Fabio (Quartararo) went off the track at the first corner and re-joined. I knew he’d have to drop a second for re-joining the track so I just made sure I stayed right behind him on that last lap. We all know the rules with this corner, so I wasn’t really surprised when they pulled me into parc ferme for the podium even though I’d crossed the line fourth.
“Nobody wants to get a podium this way, you’d prefer to finish inside the top three on the track itself, but the rules are the rules and I knew that if I stayed where I was, I’d be going up to the podium. That wasn’t a surprise – to be honest the really surprising bit was how steep the stairs were getting up there, because I’ve never been up them before!
“It was a good way to end a weekend where there was a bit going on. Saturday was a pretty hectic day – I didn’t make it to Q2 directly for the first time all year, got through in Q1, towed Marc Marquez around for a couple of laps, had a big high side in Q2 and made a mess of my leathers, and missed pole by three-hundredths of a second. No dull moments there! I’ve had way less drama to start second on the grid before, that’s for sure.
“Everyone wanted to talk about what happened with Marc – probably because he’d done the same thing to Maverick (Vinales) at the last race in Mugello – and the funny thing was he and I actually joked about it the day before, he knew he was struggling for a pace a bit and probably needed a tow, so I told him he had to pay for one from me! And then it actually happened. We had a good laugh about it. Anyway, the first tow is free but I might send him the bill if it happens again, him or the Honda boys anyway …
“You can get all annoyed about it and whatnot but the most important thing in this situation, something I’ve learned over the years, is that you need to focus on your job, what you’re doing. It’s a mindset. If you go out there thinking about the guy behind you, you’ve already lost. If there’s someone else behind you, so be it. If there’s three of them, whatever.
“After qualifying I was pretty happy I hadn’t hurt myself because usually there’s no small high sides at Turn 3, that’s a fast old corner here. I just got carried away on the throttle … anyway, thankfully it spat me forward rather than up so for a Turn 3 crash I actually felt alright afterwards. Good to be in one piece! Normally the tyre is better on the second flying lap and sure, I was giving it some, but it just let go super quickly. It sent me over the front but I came out of it pretty good, slid on my back and I was alright.
“Anyway, that’s three podiums now in four races, and I feel like I’m in a good groove. It’s the same feeling I had back at the end of last year. I’m in a good rhythm, I feel comfortable on the bike and I’m able to be there or thereabouts on Sundays. It’s only getting better week by week.”
Joan Mir – P4
“We didn’t make the right decision with the tyres today, I switched to the medium-medium on the grid and then I had to battle against the rear spinning and it was a struggle, especially in the last part of the race. It’s a shame because I felt I had podium pace, but in the end I still achieved 5th place which isn’t bad. I tried my best to manage the situation and stay on the bike. The first four riders in the race had the hard rear tyre and it seems that was the better choice, but we will learn from this mistake – both me as a rider and the team too. Tomorrow we will try a few things and let’s see if there’s something that can help us in the future.”
Maverick Vinales – P5
“I‘m happy. It‘s been a very positive race. For sure, when you start there, from the second row, it‘s difficult. You are fighting with everyone, and I just lost too much time. On the first lap I lost 3-4 seconds, which is what we missed to be at the front. But at the end of the day, I think we were riding fast. In the middle of the race we had a good pace, and I was managing the tyres quite well, but then I arrived behind Mir. I couldn‘t overtake and I was too slow. Anyway, this weekend has been positive. It has given us a lot of motivation and concentration for tomorrow‘s test.”
Fabio Quartararo – P6
“Unfortunately I can‘t explain what happened yet, we are still looking into it. It‘s a bit disappointing but, anyway, we can still be satisfied with our race, because I feel like I gave it 100%. I‘m happy because our pace was fast all weekend. In the race I didn‘t feel that good. We had a moment in Turn 7. I went wide, then retook the lead, and then had an issue. But getting fourth on a bad day is actually quite good.” (subsequently demoted further to sixth for chest protector/leathers infringement).
Francesco Bagnaia – P7
“Unfortunately, my race today was affected by our tyre choice. We wanted to try the medium, but unfortunately, it did not turn out to be the best solution. I tried to manage the consumption until the end, but I never felt completely comfortable. It was a difficult weekend, and we finished seventh. Now we have to stay focused and try to get back to fighting for the top positions starting from the next race. Tomorrow we will already get back to work during the day of testing that we have here at Montmeló”.
Brad Binder – P8
“It was a really tough race. I didn’t get the best of starts because someone hit me in Turn 2 and I lost a few positions. I tried to fight my way through but I was really struggling to get out of the corners. I was catching the group in front of me but then with three laps to go my rear tire was finished and it was like my speed fell off a cliff: it was impossible to keep going forward. I would have liked to have done a lot better than eighth place because I felt we had the potential, but I struggled with that rear traction today.”
Franco Morbidelli – P9
“I was hoping for more but in the race I realised that I wasn’t able to truly show my speed, and several riders overtook me in the early stages. After that I was able to settle into a good rhythm and I felt okay with the bike until the end. It’s a top-ten though so it isn’t too bad; I’m satisfied with that. Tomorrow we have the test here and we’re just planning to get on track with some new tyres, maybe look at small things with the brakes. I hope that at Sachsenring it will be better for us.”
Enea Bastianini – P10
“It was a good race and I enjoyed it. I tried to cut as much time as possible to the riders in front and I’m happy with the position, but a little bit less so because of the gap to the first. I suffered a lot under braking and today I didn’t feel 100%. Fortunately, tomorrow we have a test here where we can work and prepare for the next race and maybe get the confidence I lost with the crash on Saturday.”
Álex Márquez – P11
“P11, we got some points and finished the race which is always important. I’m not really happy because our pace was not bad, but for the last 10 laps I didn’t feel good enough with the bike. Anyway, I gave 100% to finish as best as possible for me and obviously for the team. Now, we need to look forward and keep going and be positive for the test tomorrow. Hopefully, We can solve some problems and be faster.”
Luca Marini – P12
“It was a good weekend and the race went more or less as expected. I rode well, I managed the tires well, both front and rear. It’s a pity I made a mistake in the first corner, I was following Marquez and Rossi and I was fighting with them. The tire overheated and the pressure also increased. I lost a couple of seconds there, then I recovered and I was also lucky because a lot of people made mistakes. The track was slippery and I am happy to bring home 12th place. I picked up a lot of information and four points. Tomorrow we have a test day and I’m expecting a lot because we are not far away from being with the front guys, just a few more tenths and we can find them.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P13
“At the beginning of the race, I’m not sure which lap, I couldn’t stop at turn one and I went straight on. I lost my position and some time and then after two laps I got a long-lap penalty. Afterwards, unfortunately, I got a second long lap penalty because I touched the green limit line for a few centimetres.Anyway, apart from that, our pace was not so bad until the middle of the race and, as you saw, there were many crashes but we finished the race and we collected some points. So, we’ll take the positives. We need to improve our bike package to use its full potential and for this, tomorrow will be a very important test.”
Jorge Martín – P14
“It was tough. My wrist was hurting, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it, but I am happy that I finished. Slowly I will be back in form and will be competitive. My objective now is to get back into shape.”
Lorenzo Savadori – P15
“Unfortunately, we were unable to figure out the tyre and setup situation this weekend, so we were a bit unprepared for the race. At the beginning I managed to stay with the group, but from the seventeenth lap on, the drop in performance was clear and I was just trying not to make any mistakes in the finale. It’s all part of the experience. We’ll just have to do better in the upcoming races.”
Iker Lecuona – DNF
“I think the end of the weekend didn’t reflect our potential. Before the crash, I had a very good race. I kept the gap to [Franco] Morbidelli and I tried not to lose too much time to the front guys. I felt quite good but I made a mistake in turn 13 and lost the front. We have been working very hard so I need to say thanks to my crew and also the guys from Danilo’s side, who helped to fix my both bikes from yesterday. Thanks to the team and sorry for the crash. For sure, we learned a lot, we are very competitive and on the way to the top. Tomorrow in the test, we will continue to work in order to improve.”
Danilo Petrucci – DNF
“We knew this could be a difficult racebut mainly for the straight, which is the trickiest part for us. The first laps, I was not holding the slipstream of the others there, so I really struggled to stay in contact. On the rest of the track, I felt quite ok. I overtook Valentino [Rossi] in turn four and tried to catch Marc, but I lost the front without any warning and crashed. I didn’t expect this at all. I’m disappointed and very sorry for the team.”
Aleix Espargaro – DNF
“I think the soft rear tyre was the right choice for today, partly because, with the medium in warmup, I didn’t feel at all good. In the race I was able to be competitive. I lost a bit of time with Marc and when Maverick overtook me, but other than that things were going as expected. Unfortunately, on this track, with poor grip, it is hard to exploit the Aprilia’s speed on the turns, whereas the bikes that accelerate well on the straights have it easier. Pushing hard on the braking sections to make up lost ground, the front tyre temperature rose a bit and when I stressed it on turn 10 I crashed. I’m disappointed with the end result and I apologise to my crew for that, but I’m not disappointed with the overall performance. On this track where we struggle, it was still an encouraging weekend.”
Marc Marquez – DNF
“My intention today was to start well and push because I thought maybe the others would try to manage their tyres. I gave everything in the beginning because if I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t have slept well today. Ok, I crashed but I showed to myself that I can do it, so this was one positive. Instead of finishing in 12th or 13th place, today was the day to take some risks. Tomorrow we have a test, it’s an important day – more important than today. We keep working and never give up.”
Pol Espargaro – DNF
“We are having a tough time, we crashed in the race. We chose the hard tyre which was the best tyre given the conditions that we saw today but we are struggling with grip and we are losing time from this. It was a frustrating race, but we need to keep positive and keep working. We need to turn the situation around, there’s still over half the championship to go. Tomorrow there’s a test and we are looking for big solutions.”
Valentino Rossi – DNF
“We expected a lot more from the race today, because I had a good pace yesterday morning. I tried the hard tyre in FP4 and I felt good, I was fast after a few laps on them, so we decided to use the hard rear in the race. Unfortunately, from the first lap, I didn’t have the grip I expected on the rear and I lost time each time. In the end I had some vibration and crashed in Turn 10. It’s a great shame and something we need to understand. Tomorrow we have a test here, I think we will try the medium tyre, to understand the feeling it gives, and there might be some other things we test as well.”
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager
“The emotions are very high! Today shows that the KTM MotoGP project is heading in a great direction. Miguel rode an outstanding race. What a performance. There was not a single mistake through the whole distance and at a difficult track. Brad also had a great race even if he is not too happy but these types of races make riders strong. The Moto2 project is also going really well and it’s so nice to watch. I have to say a big thank you to all the KTM people both at the track and at home in Mattighofen. We have to keep pushing because we can see the progress we make. The race team have been fantastic. The start of the season was not so easy for us but nobody lost belief. We have all kept strong and this is also an achievement.”
Pit Beirer – KTM Motorsports Director
“This is why we go racing. The level of competition on the track and in the pitboxes in MotoGP is so high and to have days like today give enormous pride to the company and everyone wearing an orange shirt. We kept believing, kept working and kept pushing. We have such a strong team of guys and experts and that’s what you need to succeed. This is the perfect motivation for us for really open the gas fully for the rest of the season.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Team Director
“It’s a bit of a disappointing end to an otherwise good race weekend. We knew the final laps of the race would be decisive but, even though Fabio tried to manage the tyres as good as possible, we lost some performance on the left side. We don’t know what happened yet with Fabio, but regardless of what caused the situation, he showed what a fighter he is by hanging on to third place. The 3-second penalty moved him back to fourth, but that’s still a good result when an issue beyond our control happens (these comments made before another three-second penalty was added for the chest protector/leathers issue).”
Razlan Razali – Petronas SRT Team Principal
“It was another strange weekend for both of our MotoGP riders, and the pace was not what we expected it to be for either Franco or Valentino. To make matters worse, Valentino unfortunately crashed. Ninth for Franco was not what we hoped for, but we will work hard to improve this for the GermanGP.”
Shinichi Sahara – Suzuki Project Leader and Team Director
“In spite of only getting 10th on the grid yesterday, as usual Joan made a good start and recovered positions very quickly to get up to the front. Due to the tyre choice and maybe a few other factors, Joan couldn’t keep hold of a podium position, but 5th is still a nice result and it’s very important for the championship, so we’re feeling pleased. There are still a lot of races left this season, it’s a very long championship, so we will work to improve and continue getting strong results. I’ve realised this weekend how important it is to have two riders in the box, for comparisons and for judging the situation, but hopefully Alex will come back for the next race. Anyway, overall, this Top 5 result from Joan has been important for us.”
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager
“Today we couldn’t replicate last year’s race where we managed a double podium, but last year we had the advantage of better tyre longevity. This time around we couldn’t manage the same durability of the tyres, and this is a pity and a shame for Joan. However, Joan did a very good job to hold onto a Top 5 finish in this difficult race. We will continue pushing and developing, we also have a test here tomorrow which could be useful. So now we’ll be turning our focus towards the next races and trying to build on our championship points. Hopefully at the next round in Sachsenring Alex will be able to rejoin the team and begin riding again.”
Hervé Poncharal – Tech3 KTM Team Manager
“This is a very disappointing result for the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing team. We were having a relatively good feeling before the start of the race, but unfortunately, Danilo left the race early crashing out. The good news is, that he is absolutely fine. Therefore, the whole interest of the team was focused on Iker, who did a brilliant race until he also crashed. I think he was keeping Morbidelli at bae, who wasn’t getting any ground on him. We were just counting down the laps and praying that he was going to bring the bike home in ninth position, which would have been a great result for us and of course for KTM.”
“Unfortunately, he crashed also, which is a big shame. This is not the way to go. We can see that Miguel and Brad are definitely turning their fortune in a much better way than the start of the championship. We were there, we were close. A top 9 would have been a great reward for the end of the weekend, but nobody finished the race, which is a shame. I can’t say I’m happy, but unfortunately, this is part of racing.”
“Before finishing, I would like to pass my warmest congratulations to KTM, to the whole group working so hard and of course to Miguel, who did a brilliant race and demonstration of his talent. I think Brad did also a great race. It’s good to see KTM where they are and we would like and we should be also close to them. So, we are not doing what we should do and sometimes it’s important to see the glass half full and not always half empty.”
“Hopefully, we can turn our luck around for the next round, but for the moment, we are just leaving Catalunya with a sad feeling. The good news is, there is a test tomorrow, where they can find a few interesting things, but the race is gone and we leave with zero points.”
MotoGP 2021 – Round Seven
Catalunya – Race Results
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