Quartararo comes into this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix trailing Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia by 14 points and must not cede any more than 10 if he is to keep his fading title hopes alive.
The Yamaha rider has endured a torrid second half of the season, failing to score three times in the last four races – including last weekend in Australia, when he crashed out trying to recover from an early mistake.
Six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez heaped praise on the job Quartararo has done this season and expects him “to react” to his current situation at Sepang.
But he admits the limitations of the Yamaha will make it “difficult” for Quartararo to go up against the Ducati at this crucial juncture of the championship.
“I think he [Bagnaia] has a big chance here to do it, but I will say it’s the last chance here for Fabio,” Marquez said.
“So, he needs to react and as a champion he will react I expect.
“It will be nice to see how they push all weekend, especially Fabio because as he did in Australia he took a risk.
“But now he has to take the real risk here if he wants to have some chances in Valencia.
“What Fabio did was amazing. He has a competitive bike, but for the practice. To fight in the race without [sufficient] engine [power] is more difficult.
“As he did in the first part of the season, when he leads a race, he will go away.
“If he doesn’t lead a race and you are in the middle of the group, especially with Ducatis, you are stuck there and you cannot do anything because they have good riders, plus good brake points and good acceleration.
“So, it will be difficult, but if he could do it in the first half of the season, he can do it in the last two races.
“So, let’s see. But of course, Pecco did an amazing second half of the season too, so they both deserve it.”
Quartararo said on Thursday in Malaysia that he has “nothing to lose” and will approach the grand prix more aggressively to keep his title hopes alive.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Srinivasa Krishnan