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Encouraging start for Fabio Quartararo at Jerez

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rookie finishes eighth on opening day of SpanishGP, with teammate Franco Morbidelli eleventh.

Fabio Quartararo made a good start to the SpanishGP on Friday, finishing inside the Top 10 once again, on a hot day at the Jerez-Angel Nieto Circuit. Franco Morbidelli also kicked off the event in a positive fashion, but will be looking to take a step forward on Saturday, in order to make the cut for Q2.

Both riders experienced the new asphalt at the Andalusian track for the first time in this morning’s session. The PETRONAS Yamaha SRT duo both concluded FP1 inside Top 10, with Quartararo sixth after clocking a 1:38.209 lap and Morbidelli ninth thanks to a 1:38.209.

In FP2, Quartararo focussed on testing all of the available tyre compounds in order to gather essential data from each. With his pace still competitive, the Frenchman began to break into the 1m37s lap times. Just before he could claim his lap, the session was temporarily stopped due to a crash, that brought out the red flag. Nevertheless Quartararo’s best time of 1:38.370 from his previous attempt would keep him on target for entry into Q2 – Finishing sixth in the session and eighth overall.

Using the session to look for the best setup and tyre combination for his Yamaha YZR-M1, Morbidelli struggled to better his pace in FP2, finishing the session in 18th with a time of 1:38.900. Despite just missing out on the provisional cut for Q2 by one tenth of a second, the Italian is confident that he can take the step needed and fight for a top ten position in tomorrow’s qualifying.

The Saturday schedule sees a final practice session in the morning, followed by qualifying at 2:10 pm (Q1) and 2:35 pm (Q2).

#21 Franco Morbidelli
“It took us a little longer to find the perfect setup for good grip level this afternoon. We noticed that when the temperature was higher, it was hard for us to feel comfortable and also go fast. We only used the soft tyre in the morning, so in FP2 we weren’t able to do a great time attack either. We worked hard and tested out the different compounds to try to understand the bike more and to adapt to riding in these hot conditions. In terms of the asphalt, Turn 8 is a bit bumpy, but apart from this small detail, the surface is fine. Looking ahead to tomorrow, in FP3 we will try to take a step forward with our flying lap, get into the Top 10 and claim a spot in Q2.”

#20 Fabio Quartararo
“Today has been very positive. We’ve tried all of the many compounds for the different tyres and I’m very happy because I feel good with each one of them. We have found both a flying lap time and a consistent pace that is quite good. We will continue working on this tomorrow, but the first impressions are positive. The main difference between how we felt at the preseason test here in Jerez and now, is that in November I had only had 15 days experience with the bike. I’m also satisfied with the new asphalt here. We need to think about our strategy for tomorrow, but the most important thing is to get directly into Q2, which I think is everyone’s goal here. We will have to work hard to set a good lap time in FP3 and give 100% in qualifying.”