Quartararo salvages points with 14th in #AustralianGP, Morbidelli 17th
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli were riding in tandem in today’s Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix MotoGP Race. Quartararo was charging later on and finished in 14th place. Morbidelli struggled to make up ground and took the chequered flag in 17th place.
Quartararo had qualified in P17, but Augusto Fernandez’ three-place grid penalty saw the Frenchman start the Race from P16. He didn’t have a good start, however, and found himself in last place having negotiated the opening corners. After a quick overtake of Takaaki Nakagami, he wrapped up the first lap in 20th place. He then closed the gap to his teammate riding ahead of him and overtook him on lap 9. With Joan Mir and Augusto Fernandez crashing out in the next couple of laps, El Diablo found himself in 17th place and was not giving up. He overtook Pol Espargaró, so in the final third of the race, he only had one rider between him and a championship point. He rallied and passed Raul Fernandez on lap 21, soon creating a gap. There were five more laps to the finish line, and he made them count. The number 20 overtook Marc Marquez in the final corner of the last lap to take 14th place, 20.949s from first.
Morbidelli started from P20 and climbed up to 18th place on the opening lap. There were six riders closely ahead of him, all fighting for 12th position. The Italian, however, had his own duel to focus on. He was defending his position from Miguel Oliveira. Though he put up a brave fight, he didn’t manage to hang on to 18th place and was relegated to 19th, directly ahead of his teammate. They swapped places on lap 9. Unable to stay with him, the number 21 later got into a brief scrap with Takaaki Nakagami but stood firm. The battle only spurred him on. He got a second wind and overtook Nakagami and Pol Espargaró on the last lap to cross the finish line in 17th position, 37.663s from the race leader.
Today’s results see Quartararo keep 10th place in the overall standings with 134 points. Morbidelli is now in 13th with 79 points. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team stay 6th in the team championship with 213 points, and Yamaha remains in 4th position in the constructor’s championship with 154 points.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP teammates will be back in action tomorrow for Warm Up at 09:00–09:10 local track time (GMT +11) and at 13:00 for the Sprint.
It was a tough qualifying and a tough Race. We have to keep working to make a step forward. I didn’t expect to have this feeling, I expected much better. But it is what it is, and we have to keep working hard, as always, to find a solution.
I need to be content with the first half of the Race I did. Then, unfortunately, I dropped a bit too much in the second half. Maybe the medium front wasn’t the right choice, but anyway, if we ride tomorrow, we’ll try to make another step, have a better start, and give even more. We have to keep believing that anything is possible as we look for more.