Second consecutive third row start for Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli had a positive day of qualifying action at the Circuit of The Americas on Saturday, qualifying ninth and tenth on the grid respectively, despite limited track time. Storms in the morning led to the cancellation of FP3, although this would not prevent the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT riders from going straight into Q2.
In FP4, the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT riders experienced a drastic change in conditions, as the sun broke through the clouds. Morbidelli and Quartararo started the session with wet tyres, but the track rapidly began to dry, allowing both to change onto slicks in the final minutes. Morbidelli was fourth fastest in FP4, while Quartararo placed 14th.
In Q2, Quartararo had a solid session, setting the ninth best time of 2:04.941 on his second attempt with the soft tyre compound. As it happened in Argentina a fortnight ago, the Frenchman will start from the third row of the grid. Morbidelli will be just behind his teammate tomorrow, on the fourth row, thanks to a 2:05.278 lap that lifted him to tenth place.
The 20-lap MotoGP Grand Prix of The Americas takes place at 2pm local time on Sunday.
Fabio Quartararo, 9th - 2'04.941
PETRONAS Yamaha SRT Team
"It was a day of very complicated weather conditions. We went out for FP4 with wet tyres, but the track was partially dry in places, so it was difficult to understand the best way to ride. We started off with a full tank and were not very confident. Going into Q2 without 100% confidence is not ideal, but finishing ninth is a good result: It's a spot on the third row, so I'm very happy with the work that we've done at this difficult circuit. I know that it is a very demanding track over 20 laps, but we have a good pace - not like the front-runners have, but we are well placed to fight for the Top 10 and to be the top rookie. The main thing is to enjoy the race."
Franco Morbidelli, 10th - 2'05.278
PETRONAS Yamaha SRT Team
"We could say that the cancellation of FP3 completely altered our plan for today. We tried something different with our setup in terms of weight distribution, but really I was only able to test it out in Q2 as that was the only fully dry session; the mixed conditions in FP4 didn't allow us to draw any conclusions. It was good for us, but not for the feeling of the bike, because we couldn't push it to the limit and it wasn't a true demonstration of our potential. Unfortunately, I had to discover that it didn't work as we expected in Q2. We finished tenth, which isn't bad.
The warmup will be very important for getting our feeling back and improving a little more. In the race, we will have to get a good start. Tomorrow it will be important to have the feeling I had yesterday -or better."