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Fourth Place and Good Race Pace for Franco on Jerez Opening Day

Fourth Place and Good Race Pace for Franco on Jerez Opening Day

Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi end first day of SpanishGP action fourth and 21st respectively.

A strong start to the SpanishGP from Franco Morbidelli saw him end the opening day at the Jerez circuit fourth, despite opting to focus on his race pace. PETRONAS Yamaha SRT team-mate Valentino Rossi also opted not to set a time attack lap and was 21st.

In what proved to be an extremely tight FP1 session, where the top 17 riders were separated by only 0.858secs, Morbidelli posted an initial time that placed him inside the top-three. After the 45 minutes, he ended FP1 12th, just 0.479secs shy of the top (1min 38.492secs). Franco proved to be one to watch in FP2, holding the top spot for the majority of the session with a 1min 37.704secs lap. Although he opted to remain on the medium tyre for his final run to keep working on race pace, while most other riders opted for the soft, his earlier time saw him end the day fourth.

Team-mate Rossi’s first laps of the SpanishGP weekend saw him sit just outside of the top-ten positions. With warmer temperatures expected in the afternoon session, the Italian used FP1 to work on the set up of his bike. At the end of the 45 minutes, his best time of 1min 39.299secs put him 20th. Valentino continued to focus on race pace and finding his rhythm around the Jerez circuit in FP2. He looked set to improve on his final lap, but unfortunately it was deleted due to exceeding track limits. Rossi ended the day 21st with a 1min 38.698secs lap.

Free Practice 3 will get underway for Morbidelli and Rossi tomorrow at 9.55am local time (3.55pm MYT), before the two MotoGP qualifying sessions begin at 2.10pm local time (8.10pm MYT).

Franco Morbidelli

"This track seems to suit our bike, it worked very well here throughout today and I’ve had a really good feeling with it as well. There were some areas I identified this morning that I thought could be worked on and we were able to improve them this afternoon. The pace is good, we just need to see what it will be like on a hot lap, but we have a good base to move forward from. I’m quite happy that we were able to get into the all-important top-ten for tomorrow, as we were focusing on the race pace. We need to keep on working and trying to adjust to improve those things that we are lacking, but we have started off very well today."

Valentino Rossi

"In the past Jerez has always been a good track for me and I have some great memories from here. Unfortunately today was very difficult and I was suffering with rear grip issues, especially with the soft tyre. The warmer track conditions in the afternoon helped to give us a bit more grip and we were a bit better as a result. I do think our race pace is better than our one lap pace though, as it was the soft tyre that we struggled with more. I would have been a few positions higher, but I touched the green on my final lap and so they cancelled it. We’ve tried to work on the setting today to improve things but the feeling was still similar. It’s important to be within the top-ten in FP3, so we will try some more things tomorrow and try to be better. Usually the track improves day-by-day so we will see what happens."