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Quartararo Makes it Thirteen 2021 Front-Row Starts in Misano Qualifying

Quartararo Makes it Thirteen 2021 Front-Row Starts in Misano Qualifying

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo rode his Yamaha YZR-M1 to a third-place starting position for the team‘s second home race of the season, held at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Local hero Franco Morbidelli is set to start from 16th on the grid for tomorrow‘s GP di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini.

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo brought out his do-or-die mentality in the GP di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini Q2 session. He pushed to the limit, and despite a late crash, secured third on the grid. Franco Morbidelli put in a promising first half of the Q1 shoot-out, but he was unable to improve on his second run and will start tomorrow‘s race from sixteenth on the grid.

Quartararo waited for most of his Q2 rivals to exit pit lane ahead of him. Only 35 minutes before, the Frenchman had wrapped up FP4 in first place, filling him with extra fire ahead of the 15-minute contest. His benchmark lap of 1‘32.097s put him firmly on provisional pole, with a 0.747s gap to second, but the times were dropping fast. The Yamaha man responded though. He set a 1‘31.367s, climbing back up from fifth to first.

The number-20 rider stayed out for an extra lap, setting a time that was only 0.041s slower than his personal best. Thanks to this, he missed the bustle of riders trying to find a tow. With six minutes on the clock, Quartararo arrived at the box for a fresh set of tyres. Two minutes later, he was back on his way and had time for two more tries. Unable to improve on his first one, El Diablo dropped to second. He was resolved to push extra hard on his last attempt, but a front-end crash in Turn 1 ended his charge prematurely. However, his earlier 1‘31.367s lap still earned him third place, 0.302s from first, keeping his front-row start run going.

Morbidelli was quick to leave pit lane at the start of Q1. His benchmark lap was cancelled due to the number-21 rider exceeding track limits, but his second flying lap, a 1‘32.296s, briefly put him on the board in P1.

He held second place as he arrived at the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP box with more than eight minutes remaining. Two and a half minutes later, he was back on his way, poised to defend his top-2 result. The Italian used an extra lap to get heat into the tyres, and he was pushed to fourth place during his next lap, that was filled with yellow flags. So, the pressure was on his final attempt. The Yamaha man started it with a red sector, but ultimately wasn‘t able to improve on his best time from Run 1 and ended the session in 6th place, 0.420s from first. He will start the San Marino GP from 16th on the grid.

Fabio Quartararo

"I‘m perfectly okay after the crash. When you want pole position, you‘ll try anything. I was braking super late in Turn 1. I knew it was pole position or nothing, and unfortunately today it was nothing. But overall qualifying was good. I gave it a try. As always, our main goal was the front row and we got that. I‘m feeling okay, and our pace is really good compared to Aragon, there it wasn‘t so great. I think we‘ve done a really great job today. I‘m feeling ready for tomorrow. Of course, I hope for a dry race. My feeling in the dry is super good, so I want to keep going in that direction. We‘ll see what position I have after the first lap, and I will do my best. The race is long, so I‘ll be taking it step by step."

Franco Morbidelli

"I'm really happy and pleased about these two days. We are already trying to find a base set-up that I like on this bike, and we already could almost go directly into Q2 this morning, we were just two tenths shy of it. This afternoon in Q1 we tried again. We didn't manage it. Finally we're about 0.270s off the top 2 and ended in P6. This shows again the level of this category. But I'm really pleased with this performance. Looking at the situation I'm in right now, I need to be – and I am – happy."

Massimo Meregalli

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Team Director

"We already figured that the times on qualifying day were going to be very close. Fabio went all in this afternoon. He was feeling very comfortable on the bike, as shown by his FP4 results, but during the time attack the competition in Misano is always fierce. That‘s what Fabio likes though. He enjoys the adrenaline rush of a close Q2 battle. It was a shame he had a crash at the start of his last lap because we know he was pushing for pole. But in the end, the crash was not a disaster. Fabio is perfectly fine, that‘s the main thing, and he‘s still on the front row. His pace is very good, so if the race is dry, he will be fighting at the front. Franky showed good speed in Q1. It‘s important to remember that this was his first qualifying session after a long rehabilitation period, and he was already in the mix for the top 2 for most of the session. Franky was a bit unlucky to hit a few yellow-flag situations on his penultimate lap, but that‘s the nature of the game. He will start the race from P16. Considering his pace, we think he will be able to gain a few positions and have a good first race with us tomorrow. We expect a hard battle. Grands Prix in Misano usually provide plenty of entertainment. We mainly hope for a dry Warm Up and race because that will give us the best opportunity to battle for top positions."