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Morbidelli Best of the Bunch in Barcelona

Morbidelli Best of the Bunch in Barcelona

Franco Morbidelli ends Catalan GP opening day on top, Fabio Quartararo sixth.

It was a display of strength from PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team in the opening day of the Gran Premi de Catalunya, with Franco Morbidelli posting the fastest lap of the day around the Barcelona circuit in FP2 and Fabio Quartararo topping the morning session. The Frenchman ended the day sixth fastest.

Morbidelli had a strong morning practice session, staying within the top places until the final laps. At the end of the 45 minutes, the Italian was sixth with a fastest time of 1min 41.219secs. Franco was the man to beat in FP2, despite a Turn 10 crash, staying at the top of the timesheets for the majority of the session. His last lap of 1min 39.789secs proved to be unbeatable and gave him the top spot in the combined times.

Team-mate Quartararo opened the day in the best way, holding the top spot for the majority of the FP1 session and setting his fastest lap, 1min 40.431secs, on his final lap – 0.430secs faster than the closest rival. Fabio was looking strong in the afternoon session as well, but an unfortunate issue with the brakes prevented him from heading out to set his final flying lap. His best time of 1min 40.860secs placed him 14th in the session and sixth overall.

Free Practice 3 for the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT pair will begin at 9.55am local time (3.55pm MYT) tomorrow, with qualifying due to start at 2.10pm local time (8.10pm MYT).

Franco Morbidelli

"I felt immediately very good with the bike today and I was able to be quite fast this morning. I think we did the right modifications this afternoon to improve the pace and I was able to be fast. I’m happy with today. I went in too hot to Turn 10 with cold tyres on my first flying lap, it was too early to push that hard and I ended up on the ground. I wanted to get the bike back to the pitbox to keep working with the used tyres, but unfortunately I was not able to. I changed my focus to the flying lap with soft tyres and was able to put in a quick lap. It was a really positive Friday for us. This weekend will be interesting because the conditions could play a big part, there is a lot of wind and the grip level of the track is slightly strange. We need to see how it develops over the weekend and try to make a strategy, but at the moment it is really difficult to predict."

Fabio Quartararo

"I was not feeling well yesterday and, although I am better today, I am still not at 100%. However, the feeling on the bike was great, this morning we managed to make quite a good lap time. The track condition was a bit strange, but we finished in a good position. This afternoon we continued with the used tyre, did a lot of laps and the feeling was great. I was surprised that we could make the quick laps we did on these tyres. Unfortunately when I went to do the time attack, I had a problem with the brakes and so couldn’t put the lap together. We still have FP3 tomorrow to really push and see our true potential. I’m feeling good on the bike and let’s see tomorrow if we can improve something for the race."