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PETRONAS Yamaha SRT feel the Friday heat in Styria

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT feel the Friday heat in Styria

Extremely tight Free Practice sessions for Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo, who finish ninth and 14th respectively

With 1.276secs covering the entire MotoGP field in the combined Friday times and hot track temperatures around Red Bull Ring – Spielberg, the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT pairing of Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo had their work cut out to finish the first day of the Grand Prix of Styria in the top-ten. Morbidelli snuck inside on his final flying lap to take ninth, while team-mate Quartararo rounded out the day 14th.
The morning’s practice session for Franco and Fabio proved to be an extremely tight one, with all riders covered by just 1.055secs at the Austrian circuit. Both Yamaha YZR-M1 riders worked through their pre-planned programme and focused on race pace in the first half of the session. After this, the pair bolted on some soft rear tyres to run a series of flying laps. An impressive performance from Franco, who was back on the bike for the first time since his crash last weekend, saw him finish sixth with a 1min 24.198secs lap – 0.339secs shy of the fastest time. Team-mate Quartararo, who had some lap times deleted for exceeding track limits, rounded out the top-ten after setting a best time of 1min 24.381secs.
Morbidelli’s second session didn’t get off to the best start, after the Italian ran wide at Turn 4. However, Franco soon found his rhythm again and was back up into the top-five. With reduced grip levels, due to the hot track temperatures at the Styrian circuit, Franco used the 45 minutes to experiment with changing his riding style to suit the conditions. At the end of FP2 his 1min 24.187secs time placed him seventh in the session and ninth overall. Fellow PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider Quartararo experienced a tricky afternoon session, just focusing on his race pace and not attempting a flying lap. Despite this he still finished just over one second shy of the fastest rider on track, in 14th place. This was also where he finished in the combined times for the day.
The first of Saturday’s two practice sessions for the MotoGP category will see them take to the track at 9.55am local time (3.55pm MYT), before Qualifying 1 gets underway at 2.10pm local time (8.10pm MYT).

Franco Morbidelli

It was really good to jump back on the bike today. In the first laps of FP1 I was just trying to understand how I was physically. I was pleasantly surprised by how good I felt; I had a good feeling on the bike and there were no major issues. I’m lucky in some respects as this isn’t the most demanding of tracks, so that helps. Overall it was a good day; the pace was good, although it could be better. We’ve been working with the medium tyre, aware that there could be less grip here this weekend and trying to adapt to those conditions. We’ve collected a lot of data today and I’m sure we’ll be able to use it to improve more tomorrow. I think adapting to the grip conditions here is going to be the most important thing this weekend.

Fabio Quartararo

Today we struggled with the brakes a bit in the morning, but the afternoon was much better in this aspect, so we found something that could be a solution. The problem in FP2 was with the bike setting, because we don’t fully understand why the tyres are dropping off that much. We need to analyse deeply how to work in this aspect. We worked on the race pace in FP2, but it isn’t where we want it to be. I’m not so happy about today but we still have FP3 and FP4 tomorrow to work on what we need to in order to improve. At the moment we are not in Q2 so we will have to make a time attack tomorrow morning, but we’re confident that we can do this. We know our one-lap pace is good but we need to focus on our race pace.