PETRONAS Yamaha SRT riders Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli shone in the Spanish sun in today’s qualifying sessions for the Andalucia GP, with Quartararo racking up his second pole position in a row. Morbidelli will start tomorrow’s 25-lap race from sixth.
Quartararo started the day by breaking his own lap record - set last weekend - around the 4.4.km Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, posting a 1min 36.643secs lap in the first MotoGP Free Practice session of the day. This saw him finish FP3 second and automatically progress into Q2. The Frenchman was quick to stamp his mark in qualifying and place his Yamaha YZR-M1 at the top of the timings, with a 1min 37.007secs lap. However, he almost lost out to fellow Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales who had lapped faster by a narrow margin on his last lap. Viñales’ lap time was disallowed for exceeding track limits, which meant that Quartararo claimed his second pole position in a row this year and his fourth in the last four MotoGP races.
Team-mate Morbidelli didn’t make it easy for himself, after missing out on the automatic Q2 places. The Italian’s FP3 lap time of 1min 37.180secs was only enough to place him 12th. Morbidelli was quick to prove himself in the first qualifying session though, finishing second and securing a place in Q2. Despite competing in three back-to-back sessions in the intense heat, Morbidelli improved further in the second qualifying session. His fastest time of 1min 37.412secs will see him start the race from the second row of the grid in sixth.
Fabio and Franco will be back on track tomorrow at 9.20am local time (3.20pm MYT) for Warm Up, before their second race of the season gets underway at 2pm local time (8pm MYT).
Today was a really good day for us! FP4 was really positive with the ten laps that we did in a row at a really good pace, which is something important that we needed to do. I was actually surprised to make pole position! I thought the lap I did would put me on the front row, which was our goal for today, but it was actually a pole position lap! The conditions were strange because in FP4 it was really good but in qualifying it was starting to get windy. I’m of course happy with another pole position and I know that we also have a really good pace for tomorrow. I expect a really good race but we have a few riders who could pose a real challenge. We’ll be trying our best to stay in front, stay focused, manage the pace and just do the best we can tomorrow.
It was a difficult Saturday. We didn’t start the day in the best way because we tried something new and we couldn’t change it back during the session, so I had to get the maximum out of it. Unfortunately I didn't get into Q2 directly but I was able to progress from Q1 and eventually finish with a second row for tomorrow. I’m happy with this result, as our aim was for at least the second row. Ahead of tomorrow we’ll tweak a few things and see what we can do. I think it will be tough tomorrow as there are a lot of strong riders, but we know our potential and we’ll be trying our best to achieve this, hopefully it will be a podium! This is what I’m aiming for.