Franco Morbidelli to start European GP ninth; Fabio Quartararo 11th.
A difficult day for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team saw their MotoGP riders battle the tricky and mixed conditions at Circuit Ricardo Tormo. Franco Morbidelli will start the European GP from the third row, after qualifying ninth, while Fabio Quartararo will start 11th.
Morbidelli – who was third-fastest yesterday – was able to focus on building wet weather experience, knowing that he would be going through to Q2. Franco’s best lap of 1min 42.831secs saw him end FP3 17th. The Italian started qualifying with a strong lap that put him in provisional pole however, as a dry line started to form, his best time from the session – 1min 41.557secs – placed him ninth.
Team-mate Quartararo was also able to use the FP3 session to gather data and tweak set up in the wet, as yesterday’s times could not be improved upon. With a spot in Q2 secure, Fabio ended the session 19th with a 1min 43.234secs lap. Continuing to struggle in the mixed conditions of Q2, which saw a wet track with a drying line that appeared during qualifying, the Frenchman ended the session 11th with a 1min 41.943secs lap.
Sunday’s MotoGP action will begin at 10am local time (5pm MYT) for Franco and Fabio with Warm Up, before culminating in the 27-lap race at 2pm local time (9pm MYT).
Franco Morbidelli: “We chose the soft tyre option and worked to get the maximum out of them, so ninth today is not too bad. We’re starting from the third row tomorrow and if we make a good getaway on the line we can move ourselves higher in the opening lap. It was a strange day, with the conditions changing constantly, but it was a good day. We needed to adapt quickly and I felt quite good in FP4. I didn’t feel as good in qualifying, but P9 is okay and now we have to focus on the race. If tomorrow is dry, like we think it will be, then we need to work hard in Warm Up to understand the best setup for the race, to do a good job there and then again in the race.”
Fabio Quartararo: “We have tried many things with the bike in the wet conditions this weekend, to try to understand where we can improve and find some more speed. At the beginning of the session we had a similar pace to those around us, but as the laps continued we didn’t make the step that we wanted to. Unfortunately everyone seemed to improve at the end of the session, but we were 11th. We need to analyse the data to try to understand why, but I am hoping for better weather tomorrow. Although we haven’t had any dry running, I know the base set up is good and I am not worried about it. I have to do my best tomorrow and see where we are at the end.”