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Morbidelli Just 0.021 Seconds Shy of Top Place in CatalanGP Free Practice

Morbidelli Just 0.021 Seconds Shy of Top Place in CatalanGP Free Practice

Franco Morbidelli second fastest around Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Valentino Rossi 19th.

After holding the top spot for the majority of the two Free Practice sessions at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya today, PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s Franco Morbidelli ended the day second. Team-mate Valentino Rossi was 19th in the CatalanGP combined times.

Morbidelli set the pace early on in FP1, setting a 1min 40.402secs lap that saw him hold the top spot for the majority of the 45-minute session. Opting to remain on used tyres for his final run, that initial time saw him end FP1 second and only 0.024secs shy of the fastest rider. In a repeat of the morning, Franco once again held the top spot for most of the afternoon’s FP2 session, after immediately improving upon his FP1 time. The Italian’s best time of 1min 39.256secs in the final moments of the 45-minutes was only 0.021secs shy of first place and placed him second in FP2, and overall.

Team-mate Rossi also had a good start to Free Practice 1, posting the fifth fastest lap on his first timed lap and then holding eighth in the opening minutes. At the end of the morning session, the Italian’s best time of 1min 41.267secs placed him 15th. Valentino experienced a tougher FP2 session, although he was able to fairly quickly improve upon his best time of the morning. Continuing to improve throughout the session, Rossi ended FP2 by setting a 1min 40.836secs lap in the final moments, which saw him round out the opening day of the CatalanGP 19th.

Morbidelli and Rossi will be back on track at 9.55am local time (3.55pm MYT) tomorrow for FP3, before the first MotoGP Qualifying session gets underway at 2.10pm local time (8.10pm MYT).

Franco Morbidelli

"I’m really happy with today, it has started well and it is important that we did that. We had a good feeling on the bike and I was able to be fast straight away. Now we have got to keep on working and try to improve further. I’m feeling quite good about our race pace, of course there is still work to do, but I’m happy with where we are. I really like the new Turn 10 and it fits with the rest of the circuit, it flows. The old Turn 10 made you feel like you were on another circuit. We tried all the tyres today in preparation for Sunday’s race and I felt good with both compounds, I was able to be fast with both. Now we just need to look at the endurance of them, before we make any decisions."

Valentino Rossi

"This was not fantastic, but it also wasn’t too bad. This afternoon we tried to modify the setting on the bike to improve the braking and corner entry, but it didn't quite work and I didn’t feel as comfortable. I was unable to ride like I wanted and I didn’t have a good feeling with it. As the morning was okay, we will try to go back to that tomorrow and we will see what happens. Turn 10 is a very tricky and technical corner, it's difficult to find the right line, but it’s very beautiful and it’s a little bit faster now. I really like it."