2021 MotoGP Round Four – Jerez
Gran Premio Red Bull de España
MotoGP Rider Quotes
Jack Miller – P1
“So, where do start on that one? From when the chequered flag dropped – well, maybe a corner or two before that to be honest – I was on this massive rollercoaster of emotions. One minute crying like a baby, the next one fist-pumping and high-fiving everyone in sight. The feelings are hard to put into words really. So I’ll do my best – and I better do it quick because my voice is pretty much gone after talking for the last two hours solid, and it’ll be completely gone by tomorrow I’d reckon.
“It’s been a long time – I was told the win at Assen 2016 was my 25th MotoGP race, today was my 103rd. The last time I won was a big old shock in the wet, I was a kid really … this one, I’ve worked my arse off so much since to arrive here and get this, so it means so much.
“Everyone at Ducati has had my back despite me being well off my best this year until this weekend, and I can’t tell you how much that means. Of course you hear the noise from the outside, and believe me I was desperate to do well. Nobody can put more pressure on me than I do on myself, it’s just the way I am. I want to do well for me, for the team, and get the results I believe I can achieve. So for everyone at Ducati to stick with me, be there for the bad and all of that, makes the good even better for me and I hope for them as well. It feels amazing to get a 1-2 here with my teammate Pecco (Bagnaia), it’d been a long time since Ducati won here, Loris Capirossi in 2006. I was 11 at the time! So, that’s a fair way to snap a drought!
“It’s hard to be too reflective so soon after a win, but what this weekend does show me was that the approach I took for Jerez paid off. I came here wanting to be quiet and put my head down, work away methodically in FP1 on Friday and FP4 before qualifying just to do laps on my own, do my own thing. So when Fabio (Quartararo) started to come back to me in the race, and I knew I wasn’t under pressure from behind and sitting in second, it was time to go for it. Get out front, do the laps like I’d done them in practice, put my head down. I’d done the time out there by myself, and now it was time to repeat that. There were a lot of laps left – nine I think it was – and that’s a long time to be out the front by yourself when there’s that much on the line. But you’ve got to have a crack at it, don’t you? I don’t think I’ve ever ridden that precise in my entire life, 25 laps in a row like that felt fantastic.
“I’ve never won a race like that in my life, they’ve always been battles or something like that at the last corner. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to do the old Jorge Lorenzo-style race, get out the front and cruise home the last five laps, so I’m glad I did that – but it’s not as easy as it looks. The more time you have to think, the more you can trip yourself up.
“To hear everyone clapping and applauding in the pit lane when I came back in after the race, that’s one of the biggest memories I’ll have from today. I try to be a genuine person, try to be happy and say hello to everyone, and maybe this connection means something … I feel like there’s a lot of people who want me to do well. I don’t try to be anyone else, just be me and hopefully people like that. Some of them might not, but that’s OK, I’ll just be genuine. So coming back into the pit lane, seeing all these people who were happy for me for just being me … that was awesome.
“Winning takes a bit of a load off, but we learned something this weekend about how to work and that’s what we need to do week after week now, because we know it works. But that’s for Le Mans in a couple of weeks. We have a test here at Jerez on Monday and there might be a few beers going down at some stage in the next little while too. I want to thank everyone for their support and I’ll try to do it again soon.”
Francesco Bagnaia – P2
“Today in the race, I felt really comfortable riding the Desmosedici GP bike, thanks to the great work done with my team over the weekend. I started to push after the first four laps not to stress the rear tyre too much: my pace was good and allowed me to catch up with my opponents and pass them. In the end, I was even catching Jack, but with two laps to go, I preferred to defend the second place. Today’s result is really incredible, and I hope we can continue like this in the next races, which will be held on tracks favourable to our bike. Tomorrow we will have another day of testing, so we have to stay focused”.
“It was an incredible race and I was able to push so hard throughout the entire race. This morning my Crew Chief Ramon [Forcada] was able to work a bit of magic to increase our grip and improve my feeling on the bike. The whole team has done a wonderful job this weekend and it meant that I was able to ride really strong and aggressively. I’m really pleased with this result and that I could reward the team with this podium. It feels wonderful to back up there, especially as the championship is a lot tougher this year, it is very competitive. I’m enjoying this moment a lot and I hope it continues in the next races.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P4
“I’m really happy about my performance during the race. I had a good start and from the beginning to the end I gave my best. We had good pace, really consistent and I’m happy about that myself, but we missed another podium chance, only by six tenths so I have mixed feelings. The team looks really happy and it was a good weekend, we were really consistent and P4 is a great result for me and the team. I’m really looking forward to the next race in Le Mans. We need to carry on like this, we’ve definitely found good pace.”
Joan Mir – P5
“For sure I expected more from this race, but I gave 100 per cent. It’s easy to say now ‘maybe we should’ve changed this or that’ but in reality you’ll never know if these things would’ve helped. After all I was competitive and I fought for the podium, and I wasn’t far away from that, so I’m satisfied with the work done here in Jerez. This isn’t the best track for us and the hot conditions made things harder too, but I’m glad to take the points for 5th place and we’ll look to improve again in Le Mans and hope to get some stronger results in the next races.”
Aleix Espargaro – P6
“I’m happy with the solidity we are demonstrating. I managed the race well, with a good start and maintaining my position in the early stages. The pace was extremely high. I didn’t have a lot of grip, so I had to change my riding style a bit, lifting the bike up and not fully exploiting the RS-GP’s extraordinary cornering capabilities. I was in the leading group until overtaking Fabio. It took me a bit longer than expected and that cost me a couple of seconds which turned out to be decisive. Not too bad. We continue racking up points and our gap has never been so consistently narrow. I also had some problems with my right forearm in the finale. It will need to be checked and managed in the best possible way.”
Maverick Vinales – P7
“Our rhythm was quite good, but everyone was going very fast, and it was very close in terms of lap times, so if you don‘t start at the front it‘s going to be a hard race. If we had started from the front, it would have been a different kind of race. But we did have a problem in the slower corners, and that‘s something we need to work on. On the rest of the track the bike was fantastic, but I had to brake really early to turn, and I lost too much in that area. I think if we solve that, the bike will be fantastic, so overall we are on a good level.”
Johann Zarco – P8
“We brought home eight important points. I committed a few mistakes at the start of the race and in the first corners, but the race-pace was good nonetheless and so I don’t want to complain. I want to congratulate the Ducati team who have done an incredible job, I am very happy for Jack and Pecco, they deserve this!”
Marc Marquez – P9
“Of course today we would have liked to be further ahead but we should be happy. In Portimao we finished 13 seconds behind the leader and here only ten, this is the main target. Like in Portimao I felt strong in the middle of the race, but I lost some time at the start and the end of the race and overall I felt like we have made a big step compared to our last race. I can now understand more about the bike. Tonight we will decide if I will test tomorrow, it is important to do some laps if we can to keep understanding everything with the team. It hasn’t been the best weekend in Jerez, but an important step and I want to say a big thank you to Honda and my team this weekend for their incredible work.”
Pol Espargaro – P10
“It wasn’t a good race for us speaking honestly, we had much better pace in FP4 and in Warm Up where I was feeling a lot better. The traction on the circuit was less than in the morning and I never really felt comfortable in my race pace, I was pushing and on the limit a lot. I finished just behind Marc, but it isn’t where I want to be. We get some points for tenth but 11 seconds away from first is too much. We have a full day of testing tomorrow which is going to be super important for us and allows us to try some different options for the future.”
Miguel Oliveira – P11
“Tough race for us. I didn’t have the grip or the feeling from one lap. The tyres started to overheat, I couldn’t go faster and that blocked my progression. I tried to remain calm and limit the mistakes to bring the bike to the end of the race. When the fuel level dropped I could be a bit more competitive but we are still far from where we want to be. So, we still have some work to do to improve this year’s package.”
Stefan Bradl – P12
“In the end we finished 12th which is alright, I am happy. Of course there are always some points which could have been better but overall I am very happy with the performance of the weekend, it has been very strong. Maybe in the race I could have been smoother because I felt a little arm pump at the end but aside from this the race was okay. Thank you to Honda HRC for making this happen and to my team, they’ve had a busy weekend but we have managed everything well. No big mistakes this weekend, more points and some good data collected has us pleased.”
Fabio Quartararo – P13
“The arm pump problem was clear today. For more or less 10 laps I could hold Jack Miller at bay by one second, but then I suddenly had no more feeling in my right arm. We were in a great position to win here. I could have even gone a bit faster. Our strong point of riding on the used tyre was finally not necessary, because I didn’t have any power left in my arm. I will take my time today to think over the situation and try to make the best decision about how to deal with arm pump as soon as possible. My home Grand Prix is coming up next, and I want to be fit there, that’s important to me. I know that the bike works well there and that I will perform well. I want to solve this problem as fast as possible, but in the best way.”
Danilo Petrucci – P14
“It was a difficult race but we managed to take some points. We are still trying to find a good setup on the bike. We have to manage to use this tyre as we are quite slow at the beginning of the race and able to do a good pace later. For sure, it was hard, because we were already far from the front guys quite early on. Anyway, it was one more race to gain experience.Tomorrow there’s the test here and we can try something new. We are working very hard to improve the bike and to fight closer to the front. I would like to thank all my team for their hard work. We have to continue like this and I’m sure the results will come.”
Iker Lecuona – P15
“Honestly, I’m quite happy. I worked very hard during the race and also the team worked very hard to improve during this weekend and to help me. I’m satisfied, because I finished inside the points and I did a lot to achieve this.I also learned a lot during the race because I lost contact to Danilo and I managed to recover and nearly pass him on the last lap. I think I regained the confidence to go fast.”
Luca Marini – P16
“I made a mistake at the start: in the rush to recover, I went straight in braking on several occasions, and I lost a lot of seconds from the strongest guys. After the first 7 laps I started to ride better, I made the steps forward I had seen in the data and I did a very good second half of the race. The result is not positive, the points were so close and the gap from the very first riders was not bad at all. We are putting together many pieces; I have made progress on the use of the gas and the management of the rear tyre. There are still many aspects to work on, but I’m happy because Jerez is not an easy track for the Ducati GP19 while the new one is really fast. I was behind Tito (Rabat) and the bike was very very fast. Congratulations to Dall’Igna and all the Ducati engineers because they have done a great job, Jerez is notoriously a track for other manufacture”.
Valentino Rossi – P17
“It was a difficult race because I did not have the speed and I suffered a lot with grip issues, in fact the pace that I had during the race was pretty much the same as in practice. In the beginning I found it hard to stop the bike. It did improve a bit and I wanted to try to score some points, but it was not possible today. It has been a difficult start to the season, but I do think that we can be competitive, so we need to work to understand how to improve the pace. We have a test tomorrow, so we will be able to try some things then. Hopefully this will give us some answers ahead of the race in France.”
Tito Rabat – P18
“I was growing more and more confident during the race and I am happy with how it went. To fight at this level is never easy. I would like to thank everyone for the opportunity that has been given to me, I really had a lot of fun.”
Lorenzo Savadori – P19
“The final result is a pity because we had the pace and the potential to battle in the points zone. Unfortunately, after a good start, I had some problems with the front tyre pressure that forced me to slow down. In the finale, things stabilised, but at that point it was too late to recover the lost ground. I’m disappointed. A decent result was within our potential, but even races like the one today are important for better understanding the MotoGP’s dynamics.”
Alex Rins – P20
“The crash today was a shame, it was bad luck really. There’s a bump at that corner, and normally it’s not much of a problem, but with the full fuel tank it felt quite bad and then the rear stepped out, I released the brakes, braked again, and went wide – that’s where I lost the front, on the dirty part off line. But despite losing part of the aero-fairing, I rejoined, had nice pace and I actually felt very good. I was faster than the leading group. I’m really sorry to all the team who have worked really hard as always. Let’s continue to work for the next races, and I hope to qualify much better so that I can be at the front and stay there.”
Enea Bastianini – DNF
“I’ve made a bad start, with some problems. I had the pace and good feelings with the brake, after 4 or 5 laps I overtake to Marquez, but I went outside and it has pass me again, behind him I make a time of 38.4, 38.5 so I think little by little I could have improved. It was a shame the fall on Turn 2, I’m sure I could have made a good race. I keep the positive, we’ve been competitive. This morning the feeling with the bike was much better, tomorrow in the tests we will try new solutions.”
Brad Binder – DNF
“I felt great in warm-up this morning and then made a good start in the race but unfortunately going into Turn 2 on the second lap it looks like I was a bit too relaxed, got on the brakes at the wrong moment and when I tipped into the corner the front just washed out. It’s a good lesson for the future to ignore where you are in the pack and keep your marks. It’s also disappointing because I had good pace all weekend and I felt good. We could have done a decent job today. Sorry to the team because they worked well all through the GP and they deserved a result.”
Álex Márquez – DNF
“Not even one lap today. In the warm up I think we made a step forward; we were a little bit better and we were in the top 10. I was looking forward to the race, to making a good start and a good first lap to recover some positions. But sadly, at turn eight a rider took me out and when I opened my eyes I was on the gravel! That was a shame and it was a difficult weekend, and also race. Tomorrow we have an important test so we’ll try to improve and be confident from the beginning.”
Luigi Dall’Igna – Ducati Corse General Manager
“I think I’m the happiest person in the world right now: Jerez has always been a difficult track for the Ducati bikes, so to be able to finish first and second today is crucial for us, especially from a technical point of view. Both riders had a sensational race and were fantastic. They knew how to run a mature race: Jack kept a good rhythm and perfectly managed the race, while Pecco did an incredible performance, ending second and taking now the championship lead. Congratulations to both of them, to the team and all of Ducati Corse”.
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director
“We had a difficult and disappointing race today. Fabio had a problem with his right arm. Because of the arm pump he had no feeling and was in a lot of pain. It’s such a shame. It happened suddenly while he was leading the race by 1.4s and with the pace to win. He was completely happy with the bike and was cruising to a victory. But our main concern is Fabio’s wellbeing. Tomorrow he will get his arm checked. Maverick rode a steady race. His starting position held him back a bit. It’s important to start from the front, especially with the lap times being so close. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to let the bike turn the way Maverick wanted, and this is what we will focus on tomorrow during the test. Overall, these weren’t the race results we had envisioned, but Fabio’s form in the first half of the race shows we have great potential.”
Shinichi Sahara – Suzuki Project Leader and Team Director
“In the Warm-Up session this morning we evaluated tyre options and we decided that Joan would use the soft front and Alex the medium front, and this choice wasn’t bad. Joan made a good start and managed the race well, getting 5th position in the end. Maybe with a few more laps he could’ve gone for better position, but we will never know. It was a pity that Alex crashed in Turn 6, especially because he had strong pace even after he rejoined and he had podium potential. Let’s learn from today and try again next time out.”
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager
“We have become stronger at this track, and despite the qualifying positions we had hopes of the podium for our riders, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Joan was very patient and consistent and he got a nice 5th position, so we’d like to thank him for the sensible ride. Alex also had podium pace so it was a real pity for him to have the crash, we’ll look into what happened and then begin working for the next races. Anyway, overall I’m happy with the way we are going.”
Razlan Razali – Petronas SRT Team Principal
“That was a great MotoGP race with a fantastic podium for Franco in third. We needed that result and it’s great to see him back up there. I am absolutely thrilled with this podium and we need to continue this momentum to the next race in Le Mans. It wasn’t an easy weekend for Valentino, as he couldn’t find the best feeling on the bike; but tomorrow we will have an important test to try to find an improvement.”
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager
“We cannot be happy with 11th position because we had some expectation after Brad’s good qualification yesterday and consistency in warm-up. We saw a lot of crashes here and unfortunately Brad had one on the second lap, so his race was more or less over then. It was hard for Miguel to make much time from 16th on the grid and he was in traffic for too long. We have to accept 11th but we can see how high the competition is and now we need to work in the test here tomorrow to find something extra with the bike. It was positive that three of our bikes finished in the points even if it is not our goal just to be part of the pack. The target now has to be better at Le Mans.”
Hervé Poncharal – Tech3 KTM Team Manager
“It’s been a tough weekend, but an interesting one for Tech3 KTM Factory Racing. Clearly, this has been the best weekend so far of the 2021 season. Both, Danilo and Iker were a lot closer to the front runners and I think we are not going to be in front from just one race to another, but we need to catch back and this is what we did this weekend.
“I think both riders and their crews worked very hard, very well. The grid positions where of course far from ideal, but we could see that we were very close to Miguel in the first 70% of the race, which is the benchmark at the moment and we could stay with him. Not only Danilo, but also Iker, they never slowed down, they kept their heads down, the lap times were very, very consistent, which is nice. We still have a lot of work to do, which is what we are going to start tomorrow, because we have a very important test.
“For some people it will be difficult to understand, but we are reasonably happy with 14th and 15th position. We have the feeling, that we’ve done the job. This is almost the best result we could have reached this weekend. Again, both of them are in the points. We had the Rossi family behind us and we kept them at bay without cracking under any pressure.
“I would like to thank both, Danilo and Iker. This is their best weekend since the beginning of this season and I just hope we can keep this positive frame of mind, work hard tomorrow and I think in Le Mans we can make another step. Now the target is to try to eventually finish in the top 10, which is not easy. We know there is a lot of water under the bridge before we can be higher up, but this is our mission.
“I am very happy to have announced the next five years together with KTM and I think this is showing how much both parties, Tech3 and KTM are committed. We believe in each other and there will be better days for sure.”
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