Fabio Quartararo admits it is “still difficult to believe” he is still leading the MotoGP standings after three “bad races” in which he scored just 20 points.
After dominating both Jerez rounds, Petronas SRT rider Quartararo’s challenged stumbled through the Brno/Red Bull Ring triple-header, as he managed just a best of seventh from the three races.
This wiped out his championship lead to just three, with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso his nearest rival now.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s San Marino Grand Prix at Misano, Quartararo said: “Honestly it’s still difficult to believe that after three bad races we’re still leading the championship.
“It’s crazy. But really happy to be here in Misano, last year was really positive.
“Last year everything was really good, pace was good and fighting for the win until the last lap but let’s see this year.
“I’m confident because it’s a track that I like, I feel comfortable, let’s see.
“But for sure I will give my maximum to fight for victory and the podium.”
Quartararo battled with numerous issues on his Yamaha at Brno and Austria, and though he expects Misano to suit the M1 better, he is wary that those problems haven’t gone away.
“[We had] many troubles in Austria,” Quartararo continued.
“We struggled a lot but let’s see.
“We will have these problems, but this track suits the bike better than Austria.
“So, we will need to adapt quickly and see what is the best way to ride without these problems.
“We need to make changes on the electronics, but let’s see what we can do.
“I’m confident because it’s a track that I like and last year was really positive for us.”
Factory Yamaha counterpart Maverick Vinales endured a similarly difficult Brno/Red Bull Ring triple-header, having scored just seven points out of a possible 75.
His Styrian GP was ended early by a brake failure – which was later revealed to have been a result of him ignoring Brembo’s advice to run different calipers – but Vinales felt the bike was “working fantastic” having made a “gamble” on set-up for the race.
“My feeling is really good,” he said at Misano on Thursday.
“Honestly, these three last races just motivate me and gives me a lot of fuel to keep pushing, to keep training and keep improving.
“We know our results can be much better.
“Basically, I feel ready to go out and put on my best performance all the time.
“I feel very calm of mind and I think the bike will work well here.
“Also, in Austria, in the second weekend, the bike was working fantastic, I had no issues.
“Maybe in qualifying I make a mistake and I lost a tenth and I was not able to be on the front row.
“But for the rest, it was fantastic, the bike in the race working fantastic.
“My mindset is good, I know we have a lot of potential, but now we need to put it on track.”