“I have no words. This race win is different from the previous three MotoGP races I‘ve won so far. After the last race I was a bit disappointed in myself. During this race it was totally different. I was thinking so well, I played a lot with the map and the tyres. Nine or ten laps to the end I thought ’Right now is the moment to push and show our potential‘. It‘s great to finish in first position! I was so happy with FP4, because I felt like I was the only rider to do only high 1‘54s laps. So we made a plan, but the team also told me to play it by feeling, and I did that really well today. I was feeling so good. When I overtook Zarco, I also immediately overtook Martin. I was so scared when I hit the debris on track. I thought ’Not a puncture, please!‘, because it made a bad sound. My last lap didn‘t feel as fast as the earlier ones, but it was enough for the win. Singing the French anthem with Zarco today was the best moment I ever had.”
Johann Zarco – P2
“First of all congratulations to Jorge, an impressive race, he was amazing. I am very happy, I had the right feeling, I felt really good and I knew I had the chance to do well today. With this bike and this team we can take great satisfaction.”
Jorge Martín – P3
“I still can’t believe it, a beautiful race, there are no words. Only yesterday I would have never thought I could get on the podium, but today it’s a dream come true. I am very satisfied with me and the team, it could not have gone better.”
Alex Rins – P4
“My race was quite good, I was able to do a nice job and I managed the tyres well. At one point I realised I couldn’t make a break away at the front so I concentrated on conserving the tyres and watching how the competitors were riding. It was a tough race and this is the best result I could get today, but I’m satisfied with fourth place, it’s my equal best finish at Qatar. Now we’re focused on Portimão in a couple of weeks’ time; it’s a circuit I really like!”
Maverick Vinales – P5
“For sure, the race didn‘t go as we expected, but I‘m still quite happy, because in the end this is a positive result. I was managing the tyres a lot at the beginning so I could be stronger at the end. It paid off, because at the end I was very strong, especially the rear grip was good. I just wish we would have had five more laps. We will try to come back stronger. I know we have to improve some areas, mainly my riding style. The most important thing is that the bike has great potential, and we demonstrated this in the last ten laps. I was trying to overtake and be stronger every lap. We tried, and overall I felt it was a positive day, even if the results didn‘t show our true potential for Qatar Race 2. Still, I think fifth is a nice result, and I fought back with all that I had.”
“Unfortunately, today’s race didn’t go as I had hoped. I couldn’t make a good start and found myself in tenth place on the first lap. I lost a lot of time trying to make up ground, and in the end, I made a mistake that cost me a lot. I am disappointed because my feeling with the bike was exceptional today, and I felt I had the pace to fight for the win. Today’s experience will certainly serve me well for the future”.
Joan Mir – P7
“It’s very hard to know what to say about this race. Despite starting ninth on the grid I got a good start and I was feeling pretty good in sixth place even though this track isn’t the best for our bike. I started to make progress but I made a tough pass on Jack Miller, which I immediately apologised for. After that he decided to come back at me on the straight with a hard move that I don’t agree with. Anyway, I was able to get seventh place and I’m really looking forward to the next races.”
Brad Binder – P8
“Much happier, especially to have finished in the top ten today at least. Things were really difficult for us here in Qatar. When I arrived at the track this morning I said to myself ‘whatever the situation, I don’t care, I am just going to give my best every single lap’ and instead of trying to chase something that was a little bit out of reach I just tried to do what I could each lap and in the race it seemed to pay off. I’m really happy to have made up ten spots today.”
Jack Miller – P9
“So, ninth again in Qatar, same as last weekend and a bit closer to the front, but not the same race here for me this weekend. Kinda crazy that I was just over five -econds off the win and back where I was, but that’s MotoGP these days, and also what happens when you spend this long in one circuit after testing and the first race. But that’s not what you all want to hear about, is it?
“Anyway, let’s get to lap 13. I’ve just done the fastest lap of anyone on the lap before and I’m sitting in fifth, and then I get together with (Joan) Mir twice on the same lap. Before that, there were a few contacts but it was just the way the race was going, a bit of contact here and there. Nobody seems really concerned where anyone else is on track, so …
“Back to Mir; it was one of those things where we both saw what happened, we continued to race after that so I don’t have too much more to say on that side of things. I got hit three times already before, I think, so it seemed to be that was the way we were going racing today. That’s all. As for a black flag as the incident was being investigated – well, if I was getting black-flagged then something must have gone wrong, and race direction eventually called it a racing incident.
“I didn’t speak to Mir about it after the race – he looked at me after the race on the slow-down lap and I looked at him, we waved at each other bit, and I said that was how the race was going, more or less. Other than that, we didn’t speak. So it is what it is.
“I was able to push after the Mir incident, let’s call it, and I could close the gap but I started to suffer with arm pump on the right-hand side, and in the last four laps I couldn’t even feel the brake lever. I don’t want to ride like that, I felt able to push in every other aspect until the end so I need to do something about it. I had the arm pump a bit last week too but it was worse this time, so we need to understand why and get something sorted this week. Surgery could be an option which we would need to get done ASAP if that’s the case. I definitely don’t want another end to a race like that so we’ll investigate what I can do once we get back to Europe.
“I didn’t have much to fight with in the last two laps especially and I went from seventh to ninth in the last few corners with Mir and Brad (Binder) passing me. So, ninth again.
“Last weekend wasn’t great here either, that was pretty plain to see, but there was already talk of ‘this is a must-win’ and all of that before this race. It didn’t go my way today, but it’s very early in the championship for that. The objective was the same this weekend that it is every other weekend, try the maximum to arrive at the top or as close to it as you can. That’s it. We didn’t improve on the first weekend here but it’s a long old championship and we have a fast package.
“The bike is good, there’s no doubt about that as Ducati had both poles here, and both Johann (Zarco) and Jorge (Martin) got on the podium today so fair play to them. So that’s something positive for me, that the bike is fast, and I just need to do a better job with it.”
Aleix Espargaro – P10
“I cannot be happy with my position because I believe we deserved better. The new RS-GP works well. Acceleration is spectacular and I’m able to push in braking. The only place we suffered today was on the straight. When I was behind the Ducatis, I had more grip than they did, but I am unable to overtake them. It’s a pity, but from what I could see in these two races, when we get to the European circuits, I’m sure we’ll be able to have some fun.”
Enea Bastianini- P11
“We have made a great race; I am very happy. I’m go up, even if I would have liked to be on grid much better, I am sure that I could have fought with the first ones. Unfortunately 6 or 7 laps from the end ,my hair and sweat did not let me have good visibility and don’t let me to stay focused, again obstacle and bad luck! We have improve more than last weekend so I’m very satisfied.”
Franco Morbidelli – P12
“It was a difficult race, but at least I was able to fight this weekend. We went back to a configuration that we had in early 2020, so the problems that we had in the race today were the same as we faced at the beginning of last season, where I used the tyre up too early. This looked like the best setup for us at the moment, to give a better feeling on the bike. I think it worked as we have some positives from today: I felt like I was able to race, my lap time wasn’t too bad and it was the same as the winner. However, I wasn’t able to be strong enough in the final laps because the tyre issues and having to fight from tenth meant that I wasn’t able to exploit the potential I had at the start of the race. We will now keep working to understand what has been going on during these days in Qatar, and start afresh in Portugal.”
Pol Espargaro – P13
“This race we once again showed that our potentially is incredibly high, our pace was really strong especially during the middle and the end of the race, but I made two big mistakes which ruined our chances. We could have been fighting for a lot more, especially without the second error. We have again been able to finish close to the winner despite this, but I am left wondering what could have been. These two races have both shown that our potential on the Honda is very, very high but we still need to work on a couple of things including Qualifying. There’s more to come, we will try again in Portimão.”
Stefan Bradl – P14
“The first thing I did when I came back to the garage was to apologise for the start, it was my mistake. It’s a problem I have never had in my career before and it’s very unfortunate because here we lost probably two seconds. After this big mistake our pace was very good, and I was able to catch the group and ride aggressively. I am quite angry because I was riding well and if it weren’t for the start, we could have been even closer and fighting for higher positions. In the end it is what it is. Now MotoGP returns to Europe and I am sure we will see Honda stronger there again.”
Miguel Oliveira – P15
“It was a good start to the race but coming into the first lap already my dashboard went blank and the hardest thing for me to manage was the shifting points. We also needed to understand how to get more agility in order to defend our position better but we had a good step forward here in Qatar. We learnt even more about the bike and now we start the European rounds with even more motivation to improve.”
Valentino Rossi – P16
“It is not a great result today and starting from behind is very difficult, because all of the bikes are strong. My pace was not so bad, but it was not enough to stay with the group, especially in the first laps. I expected a little bit better because this morning we found something that helps me to ride better. I thought that I could stay with the group in front, but we did not have enough to do so. We also suffered a bit with the rear grip with the soft tyre. We’ve tried a different swingarm and that has helped a bit. There are a lot of European tracks where we know the grip is good, so hopefully we can expect better results. We will see what happens in Portimão.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P17
“Well, it was a tough day again. The beginning was ok, but after seven or eight laps I felt a drop with the front tyre which then made it really difficult to hold on to the bike and especially in turning. We had a lot of struggles during the race and then I found it difficult to keep the lap time and stay on the bike.Of course, we are not happy about this position. However, last weekend I had a crash and today we finished the race and we have to think about it positively. We have gathered a lot of data here in Qatar and now we look forward to the next race in Portimão.”
Luca Marini – P18
“I was expected more from today´s race: I had a good pace, but after ten laps I started to struggled with the front tire.The condition became more and more tough until 6 laps to go when I could no longer push to the right. It is a problem that I had this morning in the warm up in the middle of the corner and we need to work on this aspect that strongly affected the result of the race. A real pity.”
Danilo Petrucci – P19
“It was a very difficult race. I didn’t start badly but I was too slow on the first lap and was not able to stay with the big group in front of me. By the middle of the race it was OK. But I never had a really good feeling to push. I struggled a lot with the front and rear grip.Then, we lost a lot on the main straight, so I couldn’t defend myself. I thought to be faster but in the middle of the race I couldn’t pass the rider in front of me. Still, we gained some experience and collected some data, so we are looking forward to the next race.”
Lorenzo Savadori – P20
“I am looking at the positive sides of this race. My shoulder, although not perfect, is improving constantly, and I should be able to forget about that problem when we arrive in Portimão. I was about 10 seconds faster than last Sunday, even with the fact that I had to do a little fuel saving on the last 5 laps. There is still a lot of work to do, but I can’t wait to race in Portimão, a track that I know well, and with the experience I’ve gained from this season start.”
Álex Márquez – DNF
“Second race here in Qatar and it ended not in the way we wanted. I made a small mistake on turn 14 and I lost my front tyre which is hard for the team as I was trying to make a good start to the race. I was a little bit inside in the corner. Anyway, not easy days for us here in Qatar, but I think we are there, we are competitive, we are constant… Now, it is time to improve, to learn … I don’t want to say any excuse. I will be more competitive and stronger in Portimao.”
Iker Lecuona – DNF
“First, I have to say sorry to my team and then I also have to say ‘thank you’ to them. We struggled a lot during this weekend but we finally tried something on the bike, which made me feel better and a lot more confident. We knew we could fight for the points. In the race, I did always 55’s low, I passed many riders and caught the group in front of me. But then, I suddenly lost the front. I eventually felt really confident with the bike and felt very fast. I need to take this to Portimao.”
Massimo Mergalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director
“Today‘s race was very difficult to predict. The second race at the same circuit is always more challenging, because everybody is faster. We had a very promising FP4, but the tyre degradation remained a big question mark. We knew the start would be tricky and that in the end it would all come down to tyre management. Our riders had to be patient in the beginning and then be brave and try to win the race. The riders did exactly that. In a way this race was a carbon copy of last week for us. Fabio rode in a fabulous way today! He chose the perfect moment to make his move to the front, and the lap times he put in to pull away from the group were phenomenal. Maverick also came very close to taking a place on the podium. Two laps before the end, to avoid another rider, he ran wide in the last corner. It’s a shame that he didn’t have enough time left to close the gap again, but fifth place is still a good result after such a hard race. All in all, it‘s been a really great start to the season for our team. These two victories are the best reward for our team members after 35 days of staying here in Qatar. A big ’Thank you‘ to all the people who contributed to the achievement of this double win.”
Shinichi Sahara – Suzuki Project Leader and Team Director
“This second race here in Qatar was obviously not the best for us. Our riders started well but they had to manage the pace in the second half of the race. We knew that Qatar is a difficult circuit for us, and we knew the Ducatis would be strong in a straight line. But while we’ve been here we’ve gathered a lot of useful data which will help us in the future races. We’re feeling positive going into Portugal and I know our riders can do well there.”
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager
“It was a very tough race for us, and I’m sorry for our riders that we couldn’t do better in terms of performance. Our bike isn’t very well suited to this track but I want to thank both Alex and Joan for doing the best job possible in the circumstances. Joan was unlucky today because he could have finished higher, so we will look into this result. Alex managed fourth place, which was good. Now we’re heading to the European tracks and we’ll work hard to optimise our performance in the coming races.”
Razlan Razali – Petronas SRT Team Principal
“To be honest, I am quite happy that we have now finished these first two MotoGP races at Qatar, as we can now focus on analysing what has happened and be prepared for Portimão. It is what it is and hopefully we can do better there, especially as it was quite a good race for us last year with the podium of Franco.”
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager
“We can be happy with both riders in the points and Brad rode so well to be only five seconds behind the winner. We worked very hard in all the sessions to find a setting and got better by the last weekend here at Losail. Miguel had a slight technical issue with his display and it was tough to accept because he could have had a great race after the start he made. I haven’t seen many starts like that in MotoGP and it indicates to a good future potential. We have some bright points to take from this tricky circuit for us: improvements to the bike and fast riders, so let’s go to Europe now and push on.”
Hervé Poncharal – Tech3 KTM Team Manager
“It was a tough weekend for the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing team one more time. I think, even though we would have had a slightly better start and no crashing with Iker, we wouldn’t have scored any points. Iker was eventually going to finish 16th and anyway, out of the points. Danilo was suffering mainly down the straight. At least, Danilo managed to finish the race.” It was a difficult opening of the championship for the entire team. The only thing is, we could see the Factory guys doing well. Miguel had an incredible start and was holding a strong position in the beginning, although he faded a bit for a reason I don’t know. But Brad Binder did an incredible race and managed to end up in eighth position, just under five seconds to the winner. So, we should take the positives out of that. We still have a long way to go, but fortunately we will go to circuits, that should be a bit easier for us. Both riders are not injured, although Iker is going to have an operation of his right arm due to an arm-pump issue. Hopefully, we will forget about this problem, that has been holding him to have a more stable pace in the races. We need to carry on working again and take the highlight from Brad to show our guys there is more to come. So, I wish the whole team a safe trip back home and we can’t wait to be at the next round in Portugal, where we have sweet memories, of course.”
“Overall we were very happy with the consistent performance of our tyres here in Qatar, which can be seen by the numerous records that have been broken here at Losail. This weekend the conditions were very difficult, as usual here in Qatar, but the fast lap times and the extremely close and exciting racing showed the strong performance and consistent grip levels of our 2021 range, and we are now looking forward to heading back to Europe, and Portimao for the next race”.
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