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PETRONAS Yamaha SRT Hard at Work on Portimão Opening Day

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT Hard at Work on Portimão Opening Day

Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli end day one in Portugal 15th and 19th.

The opening day of the PortugueseGP proved to be one full of hard work for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team and its MotoGP riders with a drying track and the expectation of better conditions later in the weekend presenting a challenge. At the end of the two Portimão Free Practice sessions Rossi was 15th and Morbidelli 19th.

Rossi used the start of FP1 to complete a slightly longer initial run than his team-mate, while the track continued to dry from overnight rain, before setting a series of quick laps in the closing minutes. Valentino’s final lap saw him post the 11th fastest time: 1min 43.013secs. The Italian focused on his race pace in FP2 and then opted to save some tyres for tomorrow’s session, setting a 1min 41.125secs lap that placed him 15th in both FP2 and in the combined times.

Morbidelli headed straight out onto the drying Portimão circuit in FP1, setting a time that saw him stay within the top-ten throughout the first half of the session. At the end of the 45 minutes, his 1min 43.243secs lap placed him 14th. The Italian opted to remain on medium tyres throughout the FP2 session, with the intention of finding a good race pace, in conditions representative of those expected in Sunday’s race. Franco ended the day, and the session, 19th with a 1min 41.216secs lap.

Rossi and Morbidelli will be back out on track tomorrow at 9.55am local time (4.55pm MYT) for FP3, with the two MotoGP Qualifying sessions due to begin at 2.10pm local time (9.10pm MYT).

Valentino Rossi

"This morning was very difficult because it was still quite wet on track, but at the end it wasn’t too bad. In the afternoon, on the longer run, my race pace was not fantastic but it was not too far away from the others. I did some good laps but it was not consistent, so we need to improve that. Afterwards we decided to save some tyres, so I was not at the limit on the soft tyres. The first target tomorrow will be to stay inside the top-ten in FP3, which is not easy because all the riders are very close, and secondly to understand the tyre choice for Sunday. It looks like the weather for the next two days should be good though."

Franco Morbidelli

"We were able to improve the bike during the day and I feel better riding it now as well. I’m quite happy with the pace that we found during Free Practice today. We need to wait for FP3 to confirm some things, because the position wasn’t great. Tomorrow we will concentrate more on the time attack, because we decided to take some extra time today to try some things regarding the set-up of the bike. So we’ll put everything together and try our best to go directly into Q2. I hope the track conditions will improve and we can secure a good row on the grid."