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Fabio Quartararo is Top Man on Algarve GP Friday

Fabio Quartararo is Top Man on Algarve GP Friday

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo quickly got up to speed at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve today, topping both sessions. Franco Morbidelli's physical condition was improved, but he is still looking to better his feeling with the bike on the soft tyres. He ended the first day in Portimão in 12th place in the combined FP standings.

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli enjoyed their first day back at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. The teammates used today‘s FP sessions to adjust their Portuguese GP bike settings from April to the current conditions of the track for this Grande Prémio do Algarve weekend, securing 1st and 12th place in the combined timesheets.

Quartararo was back to his old self after achieving the 2021 MotoGP Title at the previous round in Misano. He thoroughly enjoyed his first outing as the new World Champion and had the fans cheering him on during the 45-minute morning session as he challenged for the top spot. He saved the best for last. On lap 21, he took first place, setting a 1‘40.192s with a 0.045s margin over his closest rival.

El Diablo planned to push again in FP2. He had four laps cancelled in his first two runs due to exceeding track limits, but his 13th lap still saw him briefly in the top spot. Like in the morning, the final minutes of the afternoon session became a duel between the Factory Yamaha man and Francesco Bagnaia. Before his last stint, Quartararo had to find 0.155s, but that was no problem for the Frenchman. He rode his mini time-attack with a medium-soft tyre combination and set a 1‘39.390s on his twentieth and penultimate lap. The time put him in P1 in the FP2 and combined results, with a 0.132s advantage over second.

Morbidelli impressed once again with his pace at the start of the weekend. The still recovering Italian is known to do well at the Algarve circuit, and despite his knee injury, he took to it like a duck to water. He had never ridden the Factory-spec Yamaha in Portimão before, but still featured inside the top 5 in the early stages. He ultimately finished the session in ninth place with a 1‘40.887s, set on lap 11/17, 0.695s from first.

The number-21 rider spent the majority of the available FP2 track time working on his bike‘s race set-up. With 10 minutes on the clock, he switched to a soft-soft tyre combination to challenge for a top-10 placement. He set a personal best of 1‘40.225s on lap 16/18, which at first saw him in fifth place. But as the competition heated up in the final stages, he was pushed back to 12th in the FP2 and combined rankings, 0.835s off today‘s top time.

Fabio Quartararo

"I enjoyed today's sessions a lot, because the last two race weekends were more about stress and not making any mistakes than about enjoyment. Now I'm enjoying riding so much again. Even in the time-attack it's been a while since I was able to get that feeling of being on the limit. I was really enjoying it. It's nice to battle for first in the timesheets with Pecco. Sunday is the most important, but it's nice to see the two most competitive riders of the second half of the season fighting. For today, we had planned to try the medium and the hard tyres, but because of the wind it was quite difficult to adapt myself properly, so we need to do it tomorrow instead. Other than that, we wanted to try a few things on the bike, but to be honest the most important thing was to be back after Misano and check my riding, and I think it was quite okay. The triple crown is not just in my hands, so instead my target this weekend is to fight for the race victory and then we will see what happens, also concerning the Team and Constructor's Title. We need to at least try to win to secure the triple crown."

Franco Morbidelli

"It was a decent day. We were decently fast with the harder tyres. But unfortunately, when we put on the soft tyres, we didn't do a proper time attack. But anyway, I was pushing more, and the feeling wasn't what I was expecting, so we need to work a little bit on that to improve the performance with new tyres and with soft tyres. But overall, it was a decent day."

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

"We made a positive start to the Algarve GP weekend today. This weekend‘s goals are clear for both riders: Fabio wants to win the race, and Franky wants to score championship points – both are crucial for the team and constructor championship. Having a good Friday was an important first step towards hitting our targets. Fabio has great speed and pace at this track, like he did when we were here in April. Franky is in a better shape than he was in Misano. His condition is improving at every GP event, but he's not yet feeling as comfortable on the bike with soft tyres as he would like here. So, we will deeply analyse today's data to find a setting solution for him for FP3 that will help improve his feeling. Our aim for tomorrow morning is to have both riders in the top 10 in the combined FP results so that we are assured of a place in Q2. But when you look at today‘s combined timesheets, the first 15 riders are covered by less than a second. So we know the competition is tight this weekend, and we need to keep pushing in every session to achieve our goals."