Fabio Quartararo still has a mathematical chance of winning the 2020 MotoGP World Championship, that he led for so long.

But after a nightmare opening lap crash at Valencia, the Petronas Yamaha rider has plummeted 37 points behind Joan Mir, leaving him to speak of the title in the past tense.

With just two rounds and 50-points remaining, the world championship is no longer in Quartararo's own hands and he faces a tough fight with the other Suzuki of Alex Rins just to keep hold of second place.

"I'm so sad we had that crash, but today was going to be difficult anyway," said Quartararo, referring to a results sheet that contained no Yamahas in the top ten.

Now tied on points with Rins, he added: "The championship is not over but let's say we are focussing on other things right now, trying to secure this second place.

"Really disappointed but it's like this and I can't do anything."

Needing to gain ground from eleventh in the wet qualifying, Quartararo's fateful accident occurred when he and Aleix Espargaro slid off in what looked like synchronised lowsides at Turn 8.

"Aleix crashed just in front of me, he was really close and I had to brake a little bit more with the reaction and it was similar to Silverstone [2019] for me and unfortunately we had a crash," Quartararo said.

"Then we went back [on track] and we had a problem with the starting [ride height] device for some laps.

"Sometimes the starting device just kept the bike low, it was automatically going down. It was a bit like having a tyre puncture on the rear, making the front really light.

"It was strange because more-or-less half of the race we had the bike low, sometimes it came back, but many times the starting device was just locked down."

Quartararo eventually finished 14th and last, before being seen with his head in his hands after returning to the Petronas garage.

Mathematically, the top six riders can still win the MotoGP title, but the reality for Quartararo is clear.

"Of course, I lost the championship today. But then also Aragon 1, where we had quite a, I will not say fight, but we just wanted to start the race with less tyre pressure in the front," he said.

"But with the Yamaha protocol they said no and I had the worst race of my life in Aragon. We gained zero points when actually we had the pace to fight for the top 5-6.

"That was the second race where we lost the championship."

'We are super good or super lost'

Sunday was another bitter pill for Quartararo to swallow.

After a perfect start to the season in Jerez, the young Frenchman clung on through inconsistent races before taking a third victory at Misano.

But the fluctuating form continued for all the Yamaha riders and Quartararo couldn't prevent Mir prizing the title lead away at round 11 of 14.

"It's hurting a lot because of the consequences that we have with the bike when we are struggling," he said.

While Yamaha's engine issues have been a season-long saga, Quartararo revealed he's never felt fully comfortable on the 2020 Factory bike.

"The bike changed a lot compared to last year and I don’t feel the bike is mine. When the bike is directly quick from FP1, we can make small changes and everything is perfect," he said.

"Like [recently] at Le Mans when we could fight for the win [in dry] - but it's win or nothing. We are super good or super lost. Franco won at Aragon, then we finished 11th [Morbidelli], 13th [Vinales, from pit lane] and 14th today.

"First of all, both [Suzuki] riders are really fast but it's a really irregular season for me and for Yamaha. Since Jerez, we [Yamaha] haven't made a double podium. Suzuki only have two bikes and they've made four double podiums.

"For me it was strange that after the two [bad] races in Austria I was still leading the championship, then after the crash and a fourth in Misano I was only one point from Andrea [Dovizioso].

"In a normal season, like last year, I would have been fifth or sixth.

"This year for me one of the only rider that made a really good job is Joan, really consistent. That's why he is there. I'm really frustrated but in general it's been a tough season for Yamaha, after the wins [in Jerez].

"Now it's important to finish in the best way possible but we will need to change many things next year, because it looks like the other factory works a little bit better than us, our factory."

Quartararo emphasised that regardless of the 'lost' title chance, he is as motivated as ever.

"Maybe some people think I'm not motivated because I lost many points today, but I'm just totally focussed on what I want, which is to try to finish the highest in the championship.

"I'm feeling good in the head, just we need to be clear and we know where the problem is. I think there is quite a lot to improve but it's two races left and I want to give my best.

"I'm fully motivated. It's not because I would say we lost the championship today that I'm not motivated. Just come back next week stronger.

"It was great to continue in the race and get more information for next week. I didn't expect to get points, but I got two points, which is better than nothing. For sure we will try to make the best job possible."

Team-mate Morbidelli, who came into the race 25-points from Mir, is now 45-points adrift.

 

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