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Morbidelli Takes Career-First MotoGP Podium At Brno

Morbidelli Takes Career-First MotoGP Podium At Brno

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli takes his first MotoGP podium at Czech GP after finishing second, Fabio Quartararo takes seventh

Franco Morbidelli claimed his first MotoGP podium at the Grand Prix České republiky today, battling tyre wear and low-grip to finish second, moving to third in the World Championship. PETRONAS Yamaha SRT team-mate Fabio Quartararo rode a smart race in the tricky conditions, bringing his bike home in seventh and increasing his lead in the riders’ standings. Morbidelli’s result today makes it ten podiums for the team since their MotoGP debut last year.
A lightning start from Morbidelli saw him immediately take the lead on the first lap, whereupon he proceeded to lay down a series of unexpectedly fast laps. Pulling away from the rest of the field, the Italian was able to put plenty of space between him and the other riders in the opening stages of the race. As the laps continued to count down Morbidelli experienced increased tyre wear, something that has plagued every series this weekend. As Brad Binder started to close, Franco decided that battling him wasn’t worth the risk of crashing. Making no mistakes and maintaining what tyre grip was available, Morbidelli’s wise decision saw him able to cross the line second and take his first ever MotoGP podium. He also moves into third in the championship standings, eleven points behind fellow Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales.
Although Quartararo also had a great start of the line, and made it a PETRONAS Yamaha SRT one-two for the opening laps, he fell foul of the same tyre issues that many riders faced. Despite trying his hardest to find all the available grip, the Frenchman was just unable to lap at the times he needed to maintain his second place. Lap-by-lap Fabio started to lose positions and found himself back in the main pack. With other championship contenders faring worse than him, the #20 rider decided to not risk a crash and make sure to rack up as many points as possible. The strategy worked as, even though he finished seventh, Quartararo will head into the next round with an increased points lead in the riders’ standings.
PETRONAS Yamaha SRT continue to the next race, having increased the gap at the top of the teams’ championship, which takes place next weekend at the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg, Austria (14-16 August).

Franco Morbidelli

I’m so happy, overwhelmed actually to have finished on the podium today! It was a bit of a strange race because I couldn’t push at 100% all race. At the beginning I was going quite fast, my pace was better than I expected and I was pulling away from the pack. I could see Brad catching though and knew he might be in a better position than me as he’d got the medium tyre. I didn’t try to fight because I just wanted to make sure I got the bike to the end of the race and got my first podium. I have to say thanks to all the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT, my crew, Yamaha and all the people at home supporting me. Now we rest for three days and go to Austria with a great injection of confidence and knowledge that we can be strong. I’m really looking forward to it.

Fabio Quartararo

We suffered a lot in the race today from the first lap until the last, so we need to analyse this to see what we can improve to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We struggled with tyre wear on Friday, but then we improved it during FP4 so I wasn’t expecting the tyres to be as bad as they were today. I’m not really happy with seventh today but we still earned nine points towards the championship and actually we increased our lead there. Although I’m not thinking about the championship, I am just taking each race one at a time.  Of course I always want to be on the podium, but it was nice to see Franco on there today - congratulations Franco! -  and we will see what we can do in Austria.

Razlan Razali

It was a very unpredictable race and we are extremely happy with Franco’s second place finish. We send our congratulations to Brad Binder and KTM as they did an amazing job. It’s a great day for Franco and we’re also fairly happy with Fabio’s result as well. Of course we need to evaluate what happened but overall we are very happy.