Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales went straight down to business today during the first two free practice sessions of the Grand Prix of Qatar. They continued developing their set-ups for Sunday's race and finished the day in 3rd and 6th place respectively in the combined Friday free practice results.
Quartararo was a man with a plan for the inaugural Friday session. He got straight back to work and gradually started building up his race pace and concluded the first FP1 of 2021 by setting two consecutive personal best times. His 1‘55.213s on lap 16/16 earned him fourth place, 0.292s from first.
The Frenchman had saved some soft tyres for the FP2 session, which is predicted to be more similar in terms of track conditions to those of Sunday‘s race, held at 20:00 local time (GMT+3). He briefly topped the timesheets with 12 minutes to go. The pace soon picked up, but the youngster responded. He set a 1‘53.575s on lap 16/17 to take third place in the FP2 and combined free practice results, 0.188s from the top.
Viñales got back into the rhythm with ease. He soon featured inside the provisional top 2 as he started work on Sunday‘s race set-up and kept the position. The Spaniard spent the remainder of the afternoon track time focusing on his own free practice plans. He ended FP1 in sixth place, 0.388s from first, thanks to the 1‘55.309s he on lap 7/18.
The Spaniard continued work in FP2, but didn‘t have the same feeling. However, despite the short interruption of a red flag due to debris on the track, he did book progress throughout the cooler evening session, making the last lap his fastest of the weekend thus far. He finished in sixth place in the FP2 and combined rankings, with a 1'53.639s lap and a 0.252s-margin to the front.