Petronas Yamaha SRT confident ahead of South American adventure
After the season opener at the Losail International Circuit, the MotoGP World Championship heads to the other side of the world this weekend for round two at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit, home of the Grand Prix of Argentina since 2014. The PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team travel to South America feeling confident of maintaining the good form they showed in Qatar, where both riders featured in Q2 and only an incident for Fabio Quartararo on the grid meant they both didn’t also feature in the points.
Franco Morbidelli took eleventh place in the Qatar race, on a night that saw him spend the majority of the race running with the lead group. Now the Italian heads to Termas de Rio Hondo, a circuit where he celebrated on the podium after taking victory on his way to the Moto2 title in 2017, and where he scored two points in his debut season within the premiere class last year.
Quartararo experienced a rollercoaster debut into the MotoGP field at the season opener in Qatar. The Frenchman immediately excelled taking fifth place in Q2 - the best qualifying performance by a rookie in the premiere class since 2008 -, but the high was short lived following an unfortunate incident on the grid, resulting in a pit-lane start. Nevertheless Quartararo made a heroic recovery, fighting his way to sixteenth place and setting the fastest lap of the race. Three weeks on, the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider is determined to score the first points of his MotoGP career in Argentina, at a circuit where he boasts a best result of 6th in the Moto3 race in 2015.
The 25-lap MotoGP race will start at 3pm local time on Sunday. Prior to that, the whole PETRONAS Sepang Racing Team will be raising awareness of climate change by taking part in the Earth Hour campaign.
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team
"Over the last couple of weeks between races I have taken the chance to relax and recover so that I can go into the Argentina GP with renewed energy. In Qatar, during both the test and the race weekend, we found a good base setting so now we need to see if it works for us in Argentina. I like the track in Argentina a lot, so it will be fun to go back to Termas de Rio Hondo and feel the passion and the support of the Argentinian fans again. I have great memories of my past performances there. Termas de Rio Hondo is a circuit I managed to take a dominant win at and where I always have a good feeling. There are many factors that have to come together to make a good result in MotoGP, so in this second race we are going to try to learn from our mistakes, improve on the result from Losail and demonstrate our true potential."
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team
"I have been training hard over the past few days and we also took the opportunity to analyse the race in Qatar. It is important to be ready for the next Grand Prix in Argentina. I wasn’t expecting to be in the top ten, especially not the top five, in every session of my debut in MotoGP. We had good pace all weekend there but the fact I had to start from pit lane meant that we used the tyres too quickly in the first part of the race. That is something to learn from at this next race in Argentina and an area that we will continue to improve in throughout the season. I like the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit because it has some wide corners and even though it is a little bumpy I am sure it will be good fun to ride a MotoGP bike there. We arrive in Argentina without any prior testing there so the first laps will be in FP1. We will have to stay calm but also learn the track quickly and discover the key points to the track with our bike."