With weather forecasts predicting mixed conditions for this weekend‘s Grand Prix of The Americas, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli didn‘t waste any time working on their wet settings in FP1, followed by the duo fighting for a top-10 placement in a fully dry FP2 session. The teammates ended Day 1 in Austin in 3rd and 15th place respectively in the combined timesheets.
During the rainy morning session, Quartararo was keen to switch up his wet weather set-up, which is an area where he feels he can make further improvements. He shot up to sixth place within the first ten minutes. Improving his best time frequently, he remained in the top 10 for most of the session until the final ten minutes when dry lines started to form on track. The mixed conditions made negotiating the partially resurfaced and very bumpy COTA track even trickier. El Diablo ended the session with a 2'18.165s best time, set on lap 16/16, for 15th place, 2.293s from the front.
The Frenchman was quick to show strong pace in the dry FP2. More in his element in the sun, he got to work. The pressure was on to secure a spot in the top-10 as conditions remain uncertain for tomorrow's FP3. Quartararo put in a soft rear tyre in the final stages for his time attack. Avoiding the yellow flags, he clocked a 2'04.366s on lap 15/17 that briefly put him in first place and ultimately earned him third in the FP2 and combined results, 0.202s from first.
Morbidelli used the first 45 minutes of track time to get his YZR-M1‘s wet set-up sorted and assess the condition of his injured left leg. He noticed an improvement since the Misano Test. He no longer feels any pain when riding his YZR-M1, allowing him to focus on finding a good base wet set-up in Austin. He secured 17th place with a best time of 2‘18.530s, set on lap 13/14, 2.658s from first.
Despite the physicality of the Circuit of The Americas due to the rapid direction changes and the bumpy track surface, the Italian was pushing hard in the afternoon to also get the bike‘s dry settings ready for Sunday's race. He put in an impressive run in the final stages which briefly saw him in eighth position. He ultimately ended in 15th place in the FP2 and combined free practice results, with a 2'05.296s best time, set on lap 13/14, 1.132s from the top.