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Quartararo Sets Fourth Fastest Time on Spielberg Friday

Quartararo Sets Fourth Fastest Time on Spielberg Friday

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli put in the work to prepare for Sunday‘s Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. With a new track lay-out to get used to and mixed track conditions to contend with, the Frenchman and Italian finished in 4th and 17th position respectively in the combined free practice timesheets.

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team watched two tense early time attacks today at the Spielberg circuit, both in mixed conditions. Fabio Quartararo put in a good number of laps to adapt to the track‘s new chicane and pushed to 4th place in the combined results. Franco Morbidelli made a big step in preparation for Sunday‘s Austrian GP, but after the mixed time attack in FP2 he finished in 17th position.

Quartararo made use of the dry weather conditions in the morning, especially in the final stages of FP1 when the track had dried sufficiently to put in an early time attack. With rain predictions uncertain for the FP2 and FP3 sessions, his aim was to get into the top 10 at all costs as it could mean a direct entry into Q2 later on. Entering his last run with the soft-medium tyre combination, he set a fastest time of 1‘31.773s, on lap 21/21, earning him fifth place, 1.017s from first.

However, the sun stayed out also during FP2. This time, the Frenchman had a completely dry track to work with, and he used it to the fullest. Setting a 1‘30.285s early on, he topped the rankings for most of the session. With some rain starting to fall in the final 10 minutes, the time attack became tense. But the leading World Champion still squeezed out a 1‘29.877s on lap 20/21 for fourth place, just 0.040s from first.

Morbidelli was also pushing hard in FP1, which was not an easy feat as all riders also needed a bit of time to get familiar with the updated Sector 1 where a new chicane leads up to the long straight. The Italian featured in and around the top 10 multiple times, but ultimately ended the session in 15th place, with a 1‘32.488s on lap 16 that left him 1.732s from first.

Morbido‘s pace was looking promising during the dry first 35 minutes of FP2. Having set a 1‘30.665s on lap 9, he was solidly inside the top 10, holding eighth place until the last stages of the session. He was determined to defend his provisional spot in Q2 in the time attack, but he wasn't able to keep the pace going riding with the soft rear. He set a 1‘30.617s on lap 21/22, which put him in 17th place in the FP2 and combined results, 0.780s from first.

Fabio Quartararo

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

"The pace looks good, but it's true that we set those laps riding alone. In a group it's different. It's a shame that we had some yellow flags, and we weren't faultless today. I set my fastest lap on lap 3 or 4 with the soft rear tyre, so I think we have a bit of a margin to improve. This new chicane in Sector 1 is much better. It makes it slightly easier, although the chicane feels smaller on the bike than when you walk the track, but that's okay for us. I'm on the limit, I'm pushing myself to the limit. It won't be easy, but I feel we have good potential."

Franco Morbidelli

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

"Today, it looked quite positive. The medium tyres felt quite okay, although it looks like will need to use the hard for the race. I felt quite fast on the mediums. On the soft tyre I still wasn't able to keep the same level going. Let's see. I will try to improve. We will keep on working for tomorrow."

Massimo Meregalli

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Team Director Position: 9th Time: 1’32.349

"It‘s been a bit of a mixed day for us. Like everyone else, we were not 100% sure what to expect this morning, because the riders had to get used to the new chicane and on top of that the conditions were tricky. All the riders were already pushing in FP1, because we knew that there was a good possibility of rain later in FP2. But in the end, it stayed dry.

"We found that this chicane was a good decision. It improved the safety for the riders.

"Fabio and Franky put in the work early on in FP2 and were inside the top 10 for most of the session. On the one hand we would have liked to have both riders with a provisional spot in Q2, on the other we‘re pleased with the riders‘ overall progress.

"Fabio is feeling comfortable on the bike this afternoon, showing, as always, good pace and speed. His ideal time would have been the fastest, so our potential is good.

"Franky was also looking more confident on the bike today compared to previous GPs. This is very positive, especially here in Spielberg, which is in theory not our strongest track."