It will be a second row start to the PortugueseGP for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s Franco Morbidelli, who will line up on the Portimão grid fifth. Whilst team-mate Valentino Rossi will be starting the third MotoGP race of the year from 17th.
Morbidelli had a strong start to FP3, posting a time inside of the top-three, before the red flag brought things to a stop with just over four minutes left on the clock. Once the session restarted Franco was able to set a 1min 39.095secs lap, which placed him second and saw him through to Q2. After a good race pace in FP4, the Italian also started qualifying with a good lap, posting the second fastest lap after his initial run. He then went on to improve the time on his final time attack to 1min 39.103secs, which saw him end Q2 in fifth and secure a second row start in tomorrow’s race.
Team-mate Rossi also had a good start to the morning’s Free Practice session, sitting inside the top-ten for the opening laps. The Italian had his work cut out to make it into Q2, after finding himself in 17th at the red flag. He was able to improve to 14th on the restart – 1min 39.912secs – but yellow flags scuppered his final attempt. Valentino also started Q1 strongly with a 1min 39.943secs lap, which placed him third. Unfortunately he was unable to improve upon this time and ended the session seventh, which converts to 17th on tomorrow’s grid.
Tomorrow’s track action for Morbidelli and Rossi will begin with Warm Up at 9.30am local time (4.30pm MYT), before the lights go out for the 25-lap MotoGP race at 1pm local time (8pm MYT).