The reigning world champion grabbed the holeshot from third on the grid and led every lap of Sunday’s Barcelona race to score his second win of the season by 6.4 seconds.
The Yamaha rider admitted after Friday’s practice at Barcelona that he was worried about his pace on the low-grip surface, and in general felt the Mugello/Catalunya double-header would be a struggle for him on the underpowered M1.
However, he has emerged from it with a 22-point lead in the championship after a dominating Barcelona display he didn’t anticipate would happen.
“I was not expecting to be that consistent in the race and that pace,” Quartararo said when asked to explain his strategy in the 24-lap grand prix.
“The pace was good but not extremely fast. Of course, the start was something important. My strategy was to at least do five lapses not pushing to the limit but pushing hard.
“We know Turns 3 and 4 are two corners are… I would not say 50% of the tire consumption is there, but I was taking care a lot and of course it was something super important to be consistent.
“When I saw the lead after a few lapses it was amazing.
“When you are leading like that, that race is super long, and you are thinking about things you should not think on the bike – really stupid things.
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“But I was expecting to have a bit more of a fight, but it was good. When I saw half-second lead in the first lap or second lap, I knew I was great, and I was not going to be overtaken on the straight.
“So, I’m super happy and for the championship it’s something really good.”
Quartararo’s start proved crucial to his charge to victory, but admits “I took a risk” to get into Turn 1 first on the brakes.
“I made a great start – not my best,” he added. “I think Alex [Espargaro] and Pecco [Bagnaia] made a little worse than me.
“In the past when I was first in the first corner, you never know where to brake and you know that when someone is braking in the first corner you have a little margin.
“But Aleix braked really late and I was even later, and I was super deep on the brakes.
“I made the turn a bit wide, but I defended super well in Turn 2. But I took a lot of risk.”