Dream start to 2020 season for Fabio Quartararo with first MotoGP victory; Franco Morbidelli equals best MotoGP finish with fifth; PETRONAS Yamaha SRT tops team standings
Fabio Quartararo kicked off his 2020 season in style this weekend after taking his first ever MotoGP race win, which puts him at the top of the riders’ standings ahead of next weekend’s race. Team-mate Franco Morbidelli helped make it a weekend to remember for the team by equalling his best ever MotoGP finish (fifth) and helping place PETRONAS Yamaha SRT at the top of the teams’ standings.
Starting from pole position, Quartararo made a good start but lost places going into the opening corners of the first MotoGP race of the year. The Frenchman soon recovered and started to make his way towards the front of the race, where he battled fellow Yamaha YZR-M1 rider Maverick Viñales for the lead. It didn’t take Quartararo long to make his way past and start to pull out a gap to his rival. Fabio made no mistakes from then until the chequered flag came out to proclaim him a MotoGP race winner. The 2019 Rookie of the Year will now go into the next race of the year, which is also to be held at the 4.4km long Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, as points leader and confident of another good result.
It was also a good day for team-mate Morbidelli whose qualifying difficulties left him starting the race from tenth, which then became eighth due to the withdrawal of two riders. The Italian rode a smart race and rapidly started to make his way through the pack, to challenge for a podium finish in the closing laps. A small mistake made by Franco could have turned into something worse, but he was able to make a great save and cross the line fifth, equalling his best ever MotoGP result.
Fabio and Franco will not have to wait long before they are back out on track again, with the first practice sessions of the Gran Premio de Andalucía only days away (24-26 July).
It’s an amazing feeling to see the first win for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team and first win for a Yamaha satellite team for over 20 years as well as the first win for French rider in MotoGP for over 20 years. It’s a fantastic feeling so thank you to Fabio and all of the team for their effort to get here. It’s an amazing feeling and I can’t describe it much more than that at the moment!
This is what we have been working so hard for and I’m pleased that our story continues on an upward trajectory. Let’s try for more of the same next week! To add to the win, we can see that Franky was strong in the race and matched his best-ever MotoGP finish on the first outing of the season.
This was a great weekend. It started with some difficulties for Fabio, which was tough, but we upped our game and the team worked super hard the whole weekend. He had good pace in free practice and qualifying, with the new lap record, and he showed the speed in the race. It was not an easy race in the beginning for Fabio, having to overtake the Ducatis, but he kept calm and when he had the opportunity he made it to the front and extended a gap. We can’t ask for more, it’s a dream come true today. It’s a big hurdle that we’ve gotten over, from only starting this team a short while ago. To win in the first race of our second season is something amazing.
We came out as the best team today and Franky has helped us achieve that. He was fighting really hard at the end of the race with bikes that were much faster than his. Finish top-five with both guys is great. Franky was very close to the podium this time and I’m really happy with his effort and his work. I’m really looking forward to next weekend. This was only the first race of the season but as a satellite team to be on top it’s incredible. Now we need to try to maintain this momentum.
Massive thanks to our partners, especially PETRONAS for believing in us from the very beginning. Also thank you to all the fans for their support, it’s a shame they couldn’t be with us this weekend but we hope that we’ve given them something to cheer about.
It feels incredible. I don’t think the feeling has sunk in yet, I think that will come when I watch the race again. It’s a shame that my family, friends and fans are not here to see it, but it feels so good to finally be on the stop step of the podium. It was an amazing race and we were so consistent even though the track was really bad. There was very little grip and the tyres just dropped off so fast. I felt great on the bike so thank you to my team, partners and to Yamaha for that. I had one of the scariest moments of the race in the same place where I had the problem last year, I was worried it was going to happen again! All was good, but the last ten laps felt like they took so long to complete. Every lap we got closer to the end I was feeling better and better, just having some fun. This win is for my family, my brother especially, my best friend, my manager, all the fans who can’t be here, my team and also to those people that have suffered a lot during the last 4 months. I also want to wish a speedy recovery to Alex [Rins], Cal [Crutchlow] and Marc [Marquez].
It was a really good race. Starting from where I was, I was aiming for a top-five finish but surprisingly we were in the fight for the podium in the last two laps. I didn’t act in the right way in those two laps, I could have been a bit cleverer, but despite this it was a positive race. We came from behind and had some good battles, even though it was a tricky race. Now I will rest a bit and try to prepare for the next race. Our weak point this weekend was qualifying. Having the speed that we did it was not acceptable to start tenth, then ninth, then eighth. With such a narrow circuit it is not great to start from the third row. The front two rows are where you need to be to fight for the podium, so this will be our aim next weekend. Also congratulations to Fabio. I’m really happy for him as he deserves this victory and he was unbelievably fast today. First and fifth position for the team shows the great job that every member of the team is doing. We are heading in the right direction!