The two PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team riders finish eighth and ninth respectively, on the first day of Free Practice at the Circuit of The Americas.
The MotoGP World Championship season reaches Round three this weekend, with the Americas GP. Just as they did two weeks ago in Argentina, the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT riders were both inside the Top 10 on Friday, keeping up their impressive form at the start of the campaign and putting them in a good spot, should conditions be wet on Saturday.
In FP1, Fabio Quartararo quickly adapted to the demanding Circuit of The Americas – the scene of his first GP podium, in Moto3. The Frenchman finished seventh in FP1, stopping the clock with a 2:06.332. Teammate Franco Morbidelli was eleventh in the first session of the weekend, with a best time of 2:06.729.
Hours later, the track conditions improved considerably and both riders were able to lower their times. With the threat of rain a strong possibility for Saturday, the MotoGP field treated FP2 as their last chance to get into Q2. Both PETRONAS Yamaha SRT riders succesfully achieved that goal: Morbidelli finished in eighth position with his 2:04.548 time, set on the last of 15 laps. Just behind the Italian was his teammate, who was ninth with a 2:04.589 and completed 16 laps during FP2.
The action at the Circuit of The Americas will continue tomorrow with FP3 and FP4, just before Q1 at 2:10pm and Q2 at 2:35pm.
1. MAVERICK VIÑALES / Yamaha 2:03.857
2. MARC MARQUEZ / Honda +0.044
3. VALENTINO ROSSI / Yamaha +0.146
4. JACK MILLER / Ducati +0.148
5. CAL CRUTCHLOW / Honda +0.261
8. FRANCO MORBIDELLI / PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team +0.691
9. FABIO QUARTARARO / PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team +0.732
#21 Franco Morbidelli
“Today was a tough day because we had some small problems that I think slowed down our progress. Even so, we were able to be get into the Top 10 with only one quick lap at the end, which is a good result. I need to put in more kilometres here with this bike, because I feel like I haven’t done enough laps in a row to understand the track fully. We have to keep working because we still have room for improvement. The difficulty we encountered today were the bumps, of which there are a lot. Towards the end of the day we found a good line and we are going to continue working on that tomorrow. We’ll see what happens and if today’s time is enough to qualify for Q2.”
#20 Fabio Quartararo
“We are not officially into Q2 yet, but today the most important thing was to finish in the Top 10 because we know that tomorrow it is likely to rain. I made some mistakes on my two fastest laps, so I’m pretty happy because we only had one tyre to set our flying lap. It’s very good to finish in the Top 10 on the first day here in Austin. This circuit is very physical, but I felt ok on the bike. I think it’s one of the most demanding circuits of the year and we know it’s a good test of our fitness, although I think we’re in pretty good shape. We will see in the race, but it is a hard circuit.”