Box Confidential: Quartararo and the price of Assen’s mistake


Quartararo and the price of Assen’s mistake.

After the first day of testing in Austria, doubts have been erased as to whether the new Red Bull Ring chicane will change Ducati’s status at what has been its talismanic circuit until now. The answer is no! Seven bikes of those from Borgo Panigale are now classified in the top eight, with only Fabio Quartararo -fourth- the discordant verse. The French driver, currently the provisional leader, faces this weekend his second revalidation of the four in which he was involved after his mistake in the last Dutch GP.

From Assen, the circuit where he won in 2021, he not only left with 0 points, but also the penalty he was forced to serve at Silverstone, another track where he got 25 points last season . Result, he finished eighth, that is, with 50 points “expected”, he added 8, while his biggest rival Pecco Bagnaia, 50.

With three “enemy” circuits ahead of him, this Red Bull Ring, Misano – “Casa Bagnaia” – and Aragon, the forbidden track of Quartararo, Fabio’s composure and maturity will be tested. The 49-point advantage over Pecco forces the Italian to cut him by more than 6 points in each of the GGPPs yet to be held, which, if he does not lose heart, will give Quartararo a certain margin . But we use the condition because, as we have seen, the French rider not only has to measure himself against the Desmosedici of the Italian, but also against seven other Ducatis. This is the price you pay for your one season mistake.

KTM and Raúl Fernandez, when the charm breaks.

With the presentation of the future Team Gas Gas and the confirmation of the return of Pol Espargaró to the ranks of the Austrian brand, it remains to be seen who will be its fourth rider in 2023. And from here everything will be confused. A confusion fed from KTM itself, which I admit I don’t understand. While his sports director confirmed today that he is waiting for Miguel Oliveira’s response to his latest offer, KTM president Stefan Pierer yesterday congratulated the Portuguese rider for finding a place at Aprilia.

So I ignored the continuation of Remy Gardner, who, however, at KTM was put in fallow mode, while the option of Augusto Fernandez began to sound like an alternative, who was very good in Moto2 with the Austrians.

And Raul Fernandez? The situation of, let’s not forget, the revelation pilot of 2021, is confusing. KTM’s president made strong statements yesterday. “Fernández’s environment is a disaster. For our part, we did everything we could for him, including signing his brother for Moto3.

As for the rumor that Raul may move to Aprilia, Pierer clarified. “I don’t know what number is in your contract if you want to leave KTM – write about 1 million euros – but I gave orders that if you want to break the contract you have with us, you have to pay us . We spent a lot of money with Raul: We paid for his time in the Rookies Cup, Moto3, Moto2 and we took him to MotoGP; and in 2022 the results are nothing.”

So, the question is, where will Raúl Fernandez fit in if he decides to stay at KTM, as he is the last in line of candidates for the second seat in the new Gas Gas team? They tell me that if they don’t buy their freedom, their future may involve a retreat, meaning a return to Moto2, which sounds like sacrilege to me, doesn’t it?

His name is Shinya Wakabayashi, and he is the super boss.

If you follow the Austrian GP on television, when the cameras are focused on the box of the Repsol Honda Team, see a Japanese man with completely white hair who will be treated with the utmost respect. That person is Shinya Wakabayashi, the powerful president of the HRC. A figure rarely seen on the circuits, and whose presence in Austria I think has something to do with the reappearance on the scene of Marc Márquez. Because let’s not forget that, from a business perspective, Marc is one of Honda Racing Corporation’s greatest assets; sportingly and financially speaking.

Wakabayashi will hear himself at the Red Bull Ring about “The problem is not the bike, but the concept”, a comment in which Márquez publicly expressed the revolutionary decision made in the middle of last season to change the DNA of MotoGP Honda to make a more “universal” bike. If anyone still believed in that project, yesterday it was dead and buried.

It will be interesting to see what the consequences of this important misstep are and how far another comment by Márquez goes in the sense that for next year they have to change things in the box. The positive reading of this situation is that the “adventures” have been stopped and HRC will re-release the style book in which Marc won six titles in seven years.

Source: La Verdad


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