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PETRONAS Yamaha SRT Left Wanting More From Qatar GP

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT Left Wanting More From Qatar GP

Valentino Rossi 12th and Franco Morbidelli 18th in opening MotoGP race of 2021.

It proved to be a difficult and disappointing opening round of the year at Losail International Circuit for the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, with Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli, who experienced mechanical issues, ending the Grand Prix of Qatar 12th and 18th respectively.

Rossi’s first race as a PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider got off to a steady start, with the Italian dropping three places on the start to end the opening lap in seventh. As action unfolded in the first half of the encounter Valentino found himself in 12th and struggling with rear type grip, before dropping further to 16th on lap 12. Rossi was able to steadily claw back positions in the remaining time, eventually recovering to cross the line 12th.

It was a nightmare start for Morbidelli, who experienced a problem with his bike on the grid. The decision was made to complete the race, despite the issue, in order to gather data to help in finding a solution. The Italian found himself in 16th place on the opening lap and 19th on lap two. Franco, who starts his third year with the Malaysian squad, resigned himself to a fairly quiet race and at the end of the 22 laps, took the chequered flag in 18th.

There is only a short wait until the second round of the 2021 MotoGP season, with Rossi and Morbidelli due back on track in only a few days’ time for the Grand Prix of Doha (2-4 April).

Valentino Rossi

"We expected more, especially after qualifying yesterday, but I struggled in the race. After several laps I had a problem with the tyres, especially the rear one, which is something that we also saw on Friday. We were hoping that it would have been less of a problem today, with the cooler temperatures, but unfortunately the feeling was similar and I lost some positions. I feel like I had a good start compared to the other Yamahas, but some others had a stronger one, I feel like we entered the first corner with a good speed though. Now we try to fix it and make it better for next week."

Franco Morbidelli

"It was a difficult race for us. We had a problem on the grid but we decided to give it a go anyway. Out of respect for my team and the work they do I wanted to complete the race, also so that we might understand the problem better. It is something we need to investigate further, I think we might have seen it at other times in the weekend, but during the race it was very clear that something was wrong. It was unfortunate that we had to have the bad race, but the good thing is that we have data to understand what was going on. I hope we can fix something for next week."

Razlan Razali

Team Principal

"Today did not go as we expected it to, for various reasons. We know Valentino experienced some issues with the feeling of the rear, so now we will listen to his feedback and see what we can do for the next GP. Franco also had some mechanical problems, which we are looking into because it is not like him to be in that position. We take the positives that he was able to collect data to help us rectify the issue. We know that the Yamaha is a great bike and I want to say congratulations to Maverick [Viñales] on his win."