Flying Fabio fastest on Friday at Motegi

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team duo Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli made a flying start at the Grand Prix of Japan, finishing the day first and sixth on the timesheets at the Twin Ring Motegi. Vitally, with heavy rain forecast on Saturday morning at the Japanese track, it also means that the pair have already secured their places in Q2 tomorrow afternoon.

Making his MotoGP debut at the Motegi circuit, Quartararo took time to come to grips with the track this morning but was still able to finish second, before going one better at the end of FP2 to secure P1 with a time of 1min 44.764secs. 0.3 secs clear of his nearest rival, tomorrow’s forecast of heavy rain should give Fabio a chance to increase his understanding of the Yamaha YZR-M1 in wet conditions.

Team-mate Morbidelli also completed the first day of Japanese action strongly, finishing FP1 just behind Quartararo in third and ending the day in sixth, just 0.798secs behind. Taking positive steps forward with his bike setting and one of four Yamaha machines inside the top six, tomorrow’s weather should also provide a chance to work on a different aspect of his set-up to be prepared for any eventuality on Sunday.

MotoGP action at Motegi is scheduled to resume tomorrow with practice at 1050 local time (0950 Malaysian time) and qualifying at 1425 (1325 Malaysian time) ahead of Sunday’s 24-lap race.

Franco Morbidelli

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team

“It was a positive Friday and we were fast in both sessions. I was expecting a little bit more from the rear tyre on the time attack and I’m not too satisfied with my time – but we have to be pleased with the work that we accomplished. It’s still only the first day but we’ve been able to try lots of things and we’ve gathered plenty of interesting data. There is rain forecast for tomorrow and to say that I’m already prepared to race in the dry would be a bit brave, but we’ve made the right steps today.”

Fabio Quartararo

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team

“This morning I struggled to find some reference points because there is a lot of heavy braking at Motegi; it wasn’t easy at first. Step by step I found my line and realised where I needed to improve. In the end, we did an amazing job not only with the time attack but on race pace as well – but there’s still more to come if it doesn’t rain. We completed 40 laps today, but the more you do the more you learn, and if the weather is good then for sure we’ll be able to go faster. If it does rain tomorrow, then I’ll just go out and do my best. I don’t have a lot of MotoGP experience in wet conditions yet so we’ll see what happens, but we’re already in Q2 so we can aim for the front three rows in qualifying.”

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