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Mixed Start on Valencia Friday for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Mixed Start on Valencia Friday for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP completed a tricky first two free practice sessions of the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana today. The wet FP1 and an almost dry FP2 offered a good opportunity for Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli to work on their feeling with the bike. The pair ultimately ended in 11th and 13th place respectively in the combined free practice results.

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP have started the final race weekend of the 2021 MotoGP season. Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli showed their strong motivation to entertain the fans one last time this year by pushing on in wet conditions in FP1 and in cold and drying conditions in FP2. They ended the day in 11th and 13th place respectively in the combined free practice results.

Quartararo used the FP1 session to focus on improving his feeling with the bike on wet asphalt. He showed his determination to improve, completing 21 laps, the most of any MotoGP rider. His fastest time, a 1'42.081s set on lap 20, put him in 15th place, 1.512s from first.

The Frenchman had a tricky start to FP2 with a crash on his fifth lap in Turn 2. Fortunately, he was unhurt and soon rushed back to pit lane. The incident did cost El Diablo some time, but he was soon back on track. He wrapped up the session in 13th position with a best time of 1'31.708s, set on lap 16/17, 0.781s from the top in the FP2 and combined free practice results.

Morbidelli took his time adapting to the wet Valencian track in the morning. He spent the session tweaking his bike's set-up and completed a total of 17 laps. His enthusiasm for this circuit showed in his second run, when he started to feature in the top 10. His best time, a 1'41.200s set on lap 15, briefly put him in second place three minutes before the end of the session but ultimately saw him in eighth place, 0.631s from P1.

The Italian was eager to show a strong pace again in the afternoon in drier conditions. The Yamaha rider put his head down and by the halfway stage he was leading the session with a 1'31.832s, set on a medium-medium tyre combination. The times dropped in the final minutes as many riders put in a mini time-attack, but the number-21 rider‘s fastest time, set on lap 11 of 20, kept him in 13th place, 0.905s from first.

Fabio Quartararo

"I felt bad on the bike today. In the morning we know why that happened, but in the afternoon I had the same lack of feeling. I‘m looking forward to the meeting with the team to see what caused it and then solve it. In Portimão it was a race weekend in which we made a bad qualifying and struggled a lot because of it. But it‘s been a while since I struggled on a Friday. I think it was last year in Portimão. It‘s pretty strange, and I hope we can change it for tomorrow."

Franco Morbidelli

"It was a good day. I was able to be decently fast on wet as well as on dry. I also had a good feeling on used tyres, and I had good speed. And this is positive, we should keep going like this. The team is on the right path since we started working. It‘s a while already, but we are getting there step by step. And today I felt good on the bike, the best I‘ve ever felt. That‘s a positive thing. It means that the team is working well. It is also important to be fast with used tyres, because lately I‘ve been fast with new tyres but not that much on used tyres and in the race. But we‘re on the right path."

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

"Even on good days Valencia is a tricky track. Today‘s wet conditions in FP1 and the drying conditions of FP2 made it even harder. But in a way, it was actually a blessing in disguise. We know that we are struggling in these conditions, so these practice sessions were a good opportunity to make further steps. Franky had a good day in both the wet and dry conditions, especially in FP2 when he didn‘t do a time-attack and only focused on race pace. He had a really good rhythm from the beginning until the end. Fabio had a difficult day overall. He wasn‘t feeling as comfortable on the bike as he usually does. We have to understand what caused it. Luckily, the weather forecasts for tomorrow onwards are predicted to be fully dry. That will permit us to try to find some improvements with the aim to have both riders in Q2. We have full confidence that we can do it."