Quartararo lets his race pace shine as he takes 8th in #QatarGP Sprint, Morbidelli fights back to 15th
The Grand Prix of Qatar Super Saturday was bit of a rollercoaster ride for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP teammates. Neither Fabio Quartararo nor Franco Morbidelli had the opening lap they had hoped for, but their race pace over the course of the 11-lap Sprint had them cross the finish line in P8 and P15 respectively.
Quartararo didn’t have a good start from P14. He lost a few positions in the first sector but profited from a rider pile-up in Sector 2 and settled into 14th place. He wrestled past Jack Miller on lap 3 and was chasing the group battling for eighth place. At the halfway stage, he had overtaken Marco Bezzecchi and Augusto Fernandez and was up to 11th while his pace was only getting better. He breached into the top 10 at the start of lap 8, overtaking Raul Fernandez. On lap 9, El Diablo started a battle with Marc Marquez for ninth. With two laps to go, the Frenchman came out victorious as Marc Marquez went wide. Raul Fernandez was then right ahead of the Yamaha man but made a mistake, allowing Quartararo to take ninth. He then made light work of Johann Zarco and started the last lap in eighth position. His gap was over 1.3s to the rider in seventh, too big for the number-20 to bridge, but he was happy with the comeback he made to take eighth at the chequered flag, 6.454s from first.
Morbidelli was unlucky in that after a decent start from P18 on the grid he had to take evasive manoeuvres in Turn 6 of the opening lap. It caused him to drop to 19th place, at the back of the pack. However, the Italian had the pace to catch up with the rider ahead of him soon enough. On lap 2, he overtook Takaaki Nakagami and was up to 18th place. He used the nimble Yamaha to climb up as high as 15th but then found a big gap between himself and the rider in 14th place. He did chip at the margin to 14th over the second half of the Sprint, but ultimately stayed in 15th place until the finish line, 12.163s from the winner.
Today’s results see Quartararo stay 9th in the overall standings with 158 points. Morbidelli remains in 13th with 93 points. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team is now 7th in the team championship with 251 points, and Yamaha is in 4th position in the constructor’s championship with 178 points.
The team will be back in action tomorrow for Warm Up, held from 15:40 – 15:50 GMT +3, and the 22-lap Race, which starts at 20:00.
I’m really pleased! It’s a shame that I had a lot of spin at the start. The track was really dirty and because of that I had a bad launch from P14. But I think we can be really happy about our performance today, especially about the pace that we had in the Sprint. Hopefully we won’t have this problem at the start tomorrow so we can fight for better positions. That will be really important to have a great Race. I want to be optimistic: I think that we have podium pace, but it will depend on our first lap.
It was not a good Sprint. I had a good start, but then I got tangled up in the accident in Turn 6, and I lost a lot of ground. Moreover, we were trying a big modification in preparation for the Race. But it didn’t pay off because I had a bad feeling and couldn’t be quick, so it was a Sprint to forget.