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Double front row for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT at Japanese GP

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team team-mates Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo will line up together on the front row of the grid for the third time this season at the Grand Prix of Japan, after the duo mastered tricky conditions in qualifying today at the Twin Ring Motegi to finish second and third.

Taking to the track in wet conditions in the morning’s FP3 and much of the afternoon’s FP4, Morbidelli only used slick tyres for the first time today in qualifying but was able to adapt quickly to come home only 0.132secs from pole position with a 1min 45.895secs lap time. Today’s second on the grid equals Franco’s best result this season at the Spanish GP in Jerez in May.

Quartararo was able to make a significant step forward in the mixed conditions of qualifying, finishing only 0.049secs behind his teammate and 0.181secs off pole with a time of 1min 45.944secs for his tenth front row position of his rookie season. P1 in the dry yesterday and able to battle for the win last time out in Thailand, tomorrow could be Quartararo’s chance to secure the Rookie of the Year title as well as extend his 24-point lead in the Independent Riders’ championship.

MotoGP action at Motegi will get underway at 1500 local time tomorrow (1400 Malaysian time) at the Twin Ring Motegi for the 24-lap Grand Prix of Japan.

Franco Morbidelli

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team

“We did a great job in the wet today after working very well together and after doing a good job yesterday in the dry conditions. It was half wet and half dry in qualifying, but we were able to be fast again so it was an amazing session. I wasn’t expecting to be as fast as I was because I hadn’t tried out the conditions on slick tyres at the end of FP4. The conditions affected qualifying a little bit and we were a second quicker yesterday, so it’s hard to say how much we’ve improved versus our opposition, but we’ll see what happens now in the race.”

Fabio Quartararo

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team

“We’ve had good pace in the wet and good pace in the dry this weekend but our weak point has been in the damp, so I was able to make a big step in those conditions today. It wasn’t in our plan but it’s great to have ticked it off. We’ll work a little more in warm-up tomorrow morning to improve our race pace, we need to make a good start, and then let’s see what happens. But I’m feeling good and I think we can fight for the podium again. I’ll give my 100% and try to fight with the guys.”

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