– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Difficult First 2023 Sprint for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP in Portugal

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo showed his relentless determination in MotoGP‘s first-ever Sprint. Despite a troubled opening lap, he recovered to 10th position at the chequered flag. Morbidelli made progress in the 12-lap contest. Starting from P17, he rode to 14th place before crossing the finish line.

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo made a strong comeback in today‘s 12-lap MotoGP Sprint at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. Starting from 11th on the grid, he found himself at the back of the pack at the end of the first lap but fought his way back to a top-10 finish. Morbidelli had his work cut out for him, starting from 17th on the grid. He was on an upward trajectory in the opening laps and crossed the finish line in 14th place.

Quartararo had a nightmare of a first lap. After a bad start and a collision with Joan Mir, he dropped to the back of the pack to 19th. But the Frenchman is made of strong stuff; he regrouped and then started to climb back up the order. By lap 5 he was back into the top 10. He kept pushing, setting occasional fastest and personal best sector times. On the last lap, he engaged in a battle with Alex Marquez but couldn‘t manage to keep hold of ninth place. He took the chequered flag in the first MotoGP Sprint in tenth position, 5.924s from the race leader. However, as points in Sprints are rewarded from first to ninth position, he found himself just outside the points.

Starting from 17th position, Morbidelli avoided trouble in the chaotic opening lap. He was in 15th position as they passed the start-finish line for the first time. The Italian was battling in the midpack and later rose through the rankings together with his teammate, moving up to 13th place with nine laps to go. However, on the next go-around, he lost a position to Alex Rins. Morbidelli kept pushing but was unable to make a move. The remainder of the race was a lone ride for him. He finished in 14th place, 17.138s from first.

We had obviously hoped for a much better start to the season, but today wasn‘t our day. Whilst our riders‘ pace and speed were decent during this morning‘s FP, our competitors made a big step on the soft tyre in qualifying. Starting the Sprint from P11 and P17 was always going to be tricky. Fabio had a bad start, and to make matters worse, he then got clipped by another rider on the opening lap. It effectively ended his chances to fight for the points today, although he did still come really close thanks to his strong comeback. Morbidelli started from 17th, which is much further back than we would have liked, but he made up some positions in the race and finished 14th. Clearly, we have work to do as a team to make sure we get better results tomorrow. The Sprint has given us data and ideas of where we can improve. We will have a 10-minute warm-up session to quickly try some last setting amendments, and then we will look to make a strong comeback in the Race.
I had an issue with the launch control in the beginning and then also a touch with Joan Mir. I tried to make a comeback as far as I could, but it was not an easy job, and I tried to manage to get the best place possible. I did see in today’s Sprint that my pace was good. Hopefully tomorrow we will have fixed the launch control, and over 25 laps I think we can be quite fast.
This afternoon was very tough for me. This morning I had a decent feeling, I was pretty good. This afternoon, we were planning on improving, but instead we got worse. We are investigating why.
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