Quartararo under pressure to deliver at Aragon MotoGP

Alcañiz (Spain) (AFP) –

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Fabio Quartararo may be leading the MotoGP world championship title race but the pressure is mounting on the young Frenchman as the riders head to Spain for Sunday's Aragon GP.

After only finishing ninth at a rainswept French GP at Le Mans last weekend, the 21-year-old heads the standings but is only 10 points ahead of Joan Mir with Andrea Dovizioso and Maverick Vinales not far behind.

One mistake and he could slip to fourth in a blink.

Quartararo's main problem may be the track, Motorland Aragon, whose long straight runs the risk for Quartararo of exposing the lack of raw speed of his Yamaha.

To compound the problem, this is the first of two races on successive weekends at the circuit.

"It's a track that could be a bit difficult for us, but we have the extra motivation to fight for a very good result," said Quartararo, who finished fourth at the circuit last year in his debut season.

There have already been seven different winners in the MotoGP 2020 season but "El Diablo", as the French press likes to call him, is the only one to have climbed to the top of the podium more than once.

"We are in a good position going to Aragon, we don't really have to change anything on the bike," he said.

"We are fighting for the championship. Last weekend we managed to extend our lead in tricky conditions, so I think we can do really well again this weekend.

"First we'll look to enjoy being back on the bike, then see how we can make this weekend a great GP for us and of course, see what the conditions are like."

With five races remaining in the 2020 season, it remains the tightest title battle for years.

Mir is the closest to Quartararo and although he has yet to win a MotoGP race, the Spaniard has tasted victory on this circuit while racing Moto3 in 2017.

"It's a track that I like a lot and I'm coming to it in good shape," said Mir who finished 11th in the rain at Le Mans.

"I'm still close to the lead in the championship standings and I managed to rescue some points in the last race."

Mir, however, has a similar problem to Quartararo. Like the Yamahas, his Suzuki is armed with an engine that promotes handling at the expense of speed.

The long straights could be a problem and that could leave the door open for Andrea Dovizioso, three-time runner-up to Marc Marquez in the championship.

The 34-year-old Italian is being dropped by Ducati at the end of the season. The prospect of leaving as reigning world champion could add to his motivation.