PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team claimed a remarkable first podium in only its seventh MotoGP after a fabulous performance from Fabio Quartararo in the Catalan GP. Quartararo made his debut appearance on the premier class rostrum with a sensational second place at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, just twelve days after surgery on his right forearm to alleviate arm pump. Team-mate Franco Morbidelli was running in the top ten when he crashed out of the race with eight laps remaining.
Quartararo, who started from pole, dropped seven positions at the start but was soon to work back up the order. The French rider showed his great race pace and composure to regain the lost ground and prevail in a thrilling battle for second place. The 20-year-old claimed his first podium in MotoGP in only his – and the team’s – seventh race in the class, and is now 9th in the overall standings with 51 points.
Morbidelli was forced to retire from the Catalan GP when he low-sided at Turn 7 with eight laps remaining. He had been aiming for his fourth top ten finish of the year. He escaped unhurt from the fall, and is 12th in the World Championship with 34 points.
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli will be back in action tomorrow at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit for a test day to prepare the Dutch GP, which takes place in Assen on June 28th-30th.
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team
“We need to take the positives from this race, such as the fact that we had good speed with new tyres and recovered well from the crash yesterday, but it was a frustrating day for me. I got a very bad start, and then in the race I didn’t have a good feeling from the brakes. I think we made the right tyre choice, but I wasn’t able to make the most of it as I couldn’t stop the bike, so I went into safe mode. The first time I took a bit more of a risk, I went wide and crashed. It’s a pity, but in tomorrow’s test we will try to continue to understand more things and improve our package. I want to congratulate Fabio and all the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT family for their first MotoGP podium.”
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team
“I’m very happy with what we’ve achieved today especially as it was a very hard race. We made our best start this year, since I only dropped two positions. Then I made a mistake at Turn 4, losing another four positions, and I was a little further back! Nevertheless, I found myself in the fight for the podium and a few laps from the end I managed to get into second and push. Thanks to adrenalin of fighting for the podium – and the medicine – my arm didn’t trouble me so much in the race. In the final laps my arm started to hurt a lot, but the reward of being on the podium is much greater than that. Twelve days ago I was undergoing an operation, and now I’m on the podium.
Since the European races have begun, we have been very fast; this weekend the worst result in a session was second. The pace we have is very good, but we have to continue working as we have done so far. I want to thank the team for the opportunity they have given me and all the work they do. I am very happy to have achieved the first podium for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.”
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team Manager
“We are delighted with Fabio’s second position. We have been looking forward to one of our riders getting onto the rostrum so I’m very happy with the podium. That said, as a team manager you have to look at both riders, and this race was a mixture of good and bad luck. It’s a pity that Franco crashed. He had a very good weekend, but for him to crash in the race was a shame. We have two riders and we want the best for both of them, and that’s what we’re aiming for in Assen.”
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team Principal
“We had a good feeling that a podium was going to come, but we just didn’t know when. We have been wishing for it every weekend and it’s incredible now that it’s finally arrived. There is a lot of emotion amongst the whole team and we are very happy with the result from Fabio. It’s a very important day for Fabio and the team, which is still less than a year old. We have only just come into MotoGP and we already have two pole positions and a podium. For me it is a great performance from the team and our riders. I am very proud of the whole project. We are a little sad for Franco, because he was fired-up for a strong result here.
I think today’s podium will motivate the whole team to even better things. Congratulations to everyone who has been part of this amazing project for today’s milestone.”