21.11.2020 | news
Sixth front row start of the year for Morbidelli at Portugal finale
Franco Morbidelli to start Portuguese GP second; Fabio Quartararo fifthPETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s Franco Morbidelli put in an impressive performance to claim his sixth front row start of the season at Algarve International Circuit, after having to graduate through Q1. Whilst Morbidelli will start the Grande Prémio de Portugal second, Fabio Quartararo will make his 100th Grand Prix start from fifth on the grid and claims the prize for the best qualifier of the year.
Morbidelli had a tough FP3 session, despite improving upon his fastest time from Friday. Although the Italian ended the session ninth with a 1min 39.619secs lap, he missed out on making it through to Q2 directly by just 0.050secs - placing him 11th in the combined standings. This didn’t deter Franco though, who set the second fastest time – 1min 39.276secs – in Q1 and went through to Q2. An impressive ride from Morbidelli saw him set a 1min 38.936secs lap, the first of two riders to be inside the 1min 38secs mark, which will see him start the final race of the year second – his sixth front row start of 2020.
The start of FP3 saw Quartararo at the top of the time screens immediately, before staying at the sharp end for the duration of the session. Improving upon his time from yesterday, the Frenchman ended FP3 with the 6th fastest lap – 1min 39.480secs – and secured a direct-to-Q2 spot. Fabio had a steadier start to qualifying, but soon recovered and ended the session with a 1min 39.199secs lap. This will see him make his 100th Grand Prix start tomorrow from fifth on the grid and end the season with the prize for the best qualifier of the year.
Tomorrow’s MotoGP action will begin at 10am local time (6pm MYT) with Warm Up, before the weekend, and the 2020 season, culminates in the 25-lap MotoGP race at 2pm local time (10pm MYT).
It was a difficult day. We tried some things this morning that were working well yesterday, but they weren’t as good today and I didn’t have a good feeling this morning. We worked on the settings, which helped us to go better and better. We started to get the good feeling back in Q1 and were able to go through to Q2, although it was on the limit as I didn't improve my time in sector four. I was able to push my tyres a lot in Q2 to finally take the second position, which is a great spot to start the race tomorrow. I’m really happy with the job the team has done today to make the bike better. Tomorrow it will be important to stay with Miguel [Oliveira], as he seems like the rider with the best pace here at the moment, and then see what happens during the race.
It was a positive day, because we have improved a lot since Valencia. We still have some things we struggled with and that I wasn’t feeling so good with, but we are P5 and that is good. The pace is quite strong, I think I can make the step forward tomorrow and we have something interesting to try in Warm Up. I think the tyre management will be important, as they are wearing very quickly. We will see what happens in the race but I will be giving my best to have a good final race of the year, others have good pace so it will be hard to follow them. I really want to end the season in the best way for the team.