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Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Search for Pace on Phillip Island Friday

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Search for Pace on Phillip Island Friday

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli started their campaign at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. But the results didn‘t come easy for the duo on the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix Friday. They finished 17th and 22nd in the Practice classifications.

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli didn‘t have the Friday they had hoped for at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. The teammates used today‘s track time to find speed and ended in 17th and 22nd place in the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix Practice timesheets.

Despite a difficult morning session at the Phillip Island track that saw Quartararo finish in 18th place, he was quick to get onto the pace in the afternoon Practice session. He briefly held second place with his first lap before slowly being pushed outside the top 10. The Frenchman used the next 45 minutes to make setting tweaks and put them to the test in the final 10 minutes. The number-20 was flashing various orange sectors in the live timing, but ultimately didn't have the pace to secure a direct place in Q2. His 1‘28.937s, set on lap 26/27, had him finish in 17th place in the Practice timesheets, 0.994s from the top.

Morbidelli had completed the FP1 session in 19th place and, after a strong benchmark lap in the Practice session, found himself in that same position once more. The Italian got to work and used the afternoon track time to try to improve his race pace, but he struggled to make progress and dropped to the bottom of the live timing. He didn‘t find as much time as he had hoped with the soft tyre either during his time attack. Morbido‘s 1‘29.908s, set on lap 20/21, left him in 22nd place in the Practice rankings, 1.965s off today‘s fastest time.

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back tomorrow for the Saturday MotoGP sessions. Due to the weather forecast for Sunday, it was decided to switch the Sprint and the Race. The new Saturday schedule looks as follows: FP2 will be held from 10:10 – 10:40 GMT + 11, followed by the qualifying sessions from 10:50 – 11:30, and the Race, which starts at 15:10.

Fabio Quartararo

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

"We struggled on turning, more than last year. I‘m 1s away from the top guy, and my teammate is also struggling. Today was worse than I expected. I‘m half a second faster than last year, but I‘m 17th. This is crazy. The tyre with the harder carcass that we had in Indonesia helped us last week. Here it‘s a different story. With the Race being held tomorrow instead of Sunday, we have to improve and try to be at the front."

Franco Morbidelli

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

"We struggled today. We don‘t have the speed that the top guys have. We just have to improve for tomorrow, try to do the maximum, and see what happens. We‘re missing corner speed and top speed, so that‘s what we‘re working on."

Massimo Meregalli

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Team Director

"We didn‘t have the start we wanted at the Phillip Island track today. After a difficult FP1, we knew that the Practice was going to be really tough. We started the afternoon session with medium rear tyres on the first run, and our lap times were pretty far from the competitors. Once we moved on to the soft rear, we made a significant improvement in terms of the lap times. But then, when the moment came to do the time attack, we couldn‘t make the step that the others made, so we missed out on a place in Q2 by a big margin. We have an indication of what the problem is, but it won't be easy to fix it, considering that the time available to work on the bike tomorrow will be very short. However, we will try all we can. This Saturday will be even tougher than usual, as the schedule has changed: the Race will be held Saturday afternoon instead of the Sprint due to Sunday's predicted weather conditions. This makes FP2 more important too. Besides the setting changes, we also have to work on the tyre choice for the Race, which we usually do after the Sprint."