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Brilliant start by Fabio Quartararo at his home GP

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT sensation Fabio Quartararo had a superb start to the weekend at the FrenchGP, ending Friday third fastest in the MotoGP class and topping the timesheets in FP1. Team-mate Franco Morbidelli ran for much of the day in the top ten but ended his day just outside with the 11th fastest time.

In the first practice session for his home round, Quartararo was the man to watch. He clocked a 1 min 31.986 secs time on his final lap, in which he used a soft front and rear tyre. The PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider was the only man to go round in the 1 min 31 secs in the morning and headed a Free Practice session for the first time in his premier class career.

Morbidelli gave a maiden race weekend runout to the updated aerodynamic winglets that he tested at Jerez last week. The Italian finished in 12th place, with a time of 1 min 32.887 secs, after having been in the top five at the midway point of FP1.

In the afternoon, both PETRONAS Yamaha SRT riders followed the same plan as in the morning. Quartararo was the pacesetter for much of FP2 and remained fast when the times came tumbling down late on. His definitive lap time was a 1 min 31.713 secs, for third overall. Morbidelli also improved on his morning time, breaking into the top ten, but his 1 min 32.239 secs lap would put him 11th overall – just outside the provisional Q2 spots.

Quartararo and Morbidelli have an FP3 and FP4 session tomorrow, followed by Q1 at 2:10pm local time and Q2 at 2:35pm. Quartararo took pole position at the most recent round, the Spanish GP and he will try to make another great performance at his Home GP.

#21 Franco Morbidelli
“In general, today has been a positive day. We felt comfortable with the medium tyre and I had a good feeling overall. When we tried the soft tyre, the feeling wasn’t what I expected and I started to skid out slightly with the front. We will try to understand what happened and improve it for tomorrow. We need to continue working on making improvements, but in general our pace is good. I would like to send my condolences to the family and friends of the marshal who passed away today. Marshals always do a very important task during each Grand Prix and riders and teams must always thank them for their hard work.”

#20 Fabio Quartararo
“Today has been a very positive day. At first it was a bit difficult, because the braking reference in FP1 was somewhat tricky, but that was something that went a little better in FP2. I’m happy overall. We worked on our pace today, and while we still have to improve things, I feel good on the bike and I’m satisfied. Tomorrow we will continue working on what will be an important day, and we’ll see what the weather is like. I think this track is good for the Yamaha; we saw Viñales go really fast today. I’m enjoying my home GP; I don’t feel like I’m under pressure and I’m having fun with the fans. I also would like to send all my support to the friends and family of the marshal who passed away today at Le Mans. It has been very sad news for everybody.”