Top 10 for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT on opening day of the Argentina GP
The MotoGP World Championship returns to action this weekend with the Argentina GP, the second round of the 2019 calendar. On the opening day at Termas de Rio Hondo, the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team riders continued to enjoy the same positive feeling as they had in Qatar. Fabio Quartararo - on his first time at the track with a MotoGP bike - placed inside the Top 5, while teammate Franco Morbidelli was ninth fastest. Both hold provisional Q2 spots ahead of qualifying tomorrow.
Morbidelli was one of the standout riders of the morning, and was up into second place during the early stages of FP1. He would conclude the runout in fourth, with a best time of 1:40.319. Quartararo was also in the Top 10, as the Frenchman placed eighth with a 1:40.676 lap.
In FP2, Quartararo bettered his previous time by more than a second. He tried to move his way further up the order in the final stretch of the session, eventually clocking a 1:39.357 on the 19th of his 21 laps. Morbidelli joined his teammate in managing to get into a provisional Q2 position after a tight FP2 session. The Italian finished the day with the ninth fastest time on the combined timesheets, with a 1:39.503. A total of twenty one riders set times within a second of each other.
The action at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit continues on Saturday with FP3 and Qualifying: Q1 will get underway at 3:05pm local time, followed by Q2 at 3:30pm.
At 8.30pm tomorrow, Earth Hour, a global awareness campaign about climate change that all the PETRONAS Sepang Racing Team are supporting this weekend, takes place.
"It's my first day with the Yamaha YZR-M1 on this track and I felt very good. I felt comfortable riding and I'm having fun. The timesheets are very tight and there are many riders within a second of one another, so getting into the Top 10 is a very positive thing. We still have to continue working on different aspects, because we have room for improvement, but we are in a good spot ahead of the second day. We need to finish adjusting some things with the rear and find a little more speed. The conditions here change day by day and the weather is usually unstable, so having achieved the time that we did today could be very valuable. We have to be prepared to react to any situation, in both the remaining Free Practice sessions and in Qualifying."
"The first impressions of riding with a MotoGP bike here in Argentina have been good. I was expecting the track to be dirtier and harder for me to adapt to. I thought it would be more difficult, as we hadn't tested here before -in contrast to Qatar. I felt very good and very comfortable, right from the start. On the last few laps I think everyone tried for a quick time, and we managed to be competitive and stay amongst the frontrunners. The conditions were almost perfect, so I'm happy with the work we've done today. Now it's time to focus on tomorrow and work on our race pace. Qualifying is sure to be tough and we will have to ride on the limit if we are going to achieve the best grid position possible."