Morbidelli storms to 4th in thrilling #ArgentinaGP Sprint, Quartararo 9th
Franco Morbidelli had the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team cheering in the garage as he battled for the podium in today‘s Gran Premio de la República Argentina Sprint. Though he ultimately finished fourth, he collected six points and gave the squad a boost for tomorrow‘s 25-lap race. Fabio Quartararo wrapped up a challenging second day at the Autódromo Internacional de Termas de Río Hondo taking ninth place, earning himself his first Sprint point as well.
Morbidelli started from P4 and took the holeshot, but ran wide. It didn‘t lose him much time though, and he soon retook the lead. He maintained first position in the opening two laps, but on lap 3 he got involved in a battle with Brad Binder. Then racing in second, the Italian was looking for the best place to overtake, but he wasn‘t able to make his move.
With four laps to go, Morbido got into a battle with fellow VR46 riders Marco Bezzecchi and Luca Marini and was pushed back two places. The Yamaha rider defended this position superbly all the way to the end of the 12-lap sprint, crossing the finish line in fourth, 2.354s from first.
Quartararo started from P10 and in the middle of the pack. He had lost one position on the opening lap but regained one on the second. The Frenchman had one objective only: to get as many points as possible, and so he pushed on.
At half-Sprint distance, El Diablo closed the gap to the group of nine ahead of him. One lap later, he overtook Jorge Martin. With Aleix Espargaró crashing out, the number-20 rider was briefly in eighth place, but the battle wasn‘t over. He was setting personal best sectors, but ultimately finished ninth, 3.856s from the race leader.
Today‘s result earns Quartararo his first Sprint point, putting him in 10th place in the overall standings with 9 points. Morbidelli moves up to 11th place with 8 points. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team are in 6th place in the team championship with 17 points, and Yamaha are fourth in the constructors championship with 14 points.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will be racing at the Termas de Río Hondo track again on Sunday at 14:00 local time (GMT -3).
It’s been a smooth weekend, so far. It’s going well for us. We already had a good performance on Friday. We made some small steps that are, for sure, reflected in the charts. Today, we were able to make a good start and battle with main competitors. That was a nice feeling. I’m happy about that. This result goes to the team, they really deserve this and this kind of good energy injection. I’m sure we will now work on clearing the gap to the front guys.
The qualifying was not great. To be honest, I didn’t expect to be so fast straight away in Q1 in the wet. But as soon as the track started to dry, it wasn’t as good. In the Sprint, I didn’t make a great start. The pace was not so bad, but we’re missing something in some areas, some corners can be improved. We will try to improve for tomorrow. The track had a bit more grip today, so I felt better, and we also changed something on the bike. It was slightly better, but we can improve in some braking areas. Hopefully, tomorrow in Warm Up we can see if we can improve this.