Fabio Quartararo gets his championship campaign started in perfect style with pole position for the first race of the year; Franco Morbidelli to start ninth
Fabio Quartararo has kicked off the Gran Premio de España in the best possible way after breaking the all time lap record on the way to claiming his seventh pole position, and his third pole in a row. Fellow PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider Franco Morbidelli will start the first MotoGP race of the year from ninth.
Quartararo may have had a mixed Friday at Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, but it’s been the perfect Saturday for the Frenchman. Fabio broke his own all-time lap record during FP3 and was one of only three riders to lap within the 1min 36secs. Qualifying saw him hold the top spot for the majority of the session, before he was knocked down to third in the closing stages. His final flying lap of 1min 36.705secs saw him regain pole and set a further all-time record, for the second time in one day.
Team-mate Morbidelli started the day well, finishing both of the MotoGP practice sessions within the top-seven and securing a direct pass to the second qualifying session. However, the changing track conditions gave the Italian rider some difficulties in the afternoon, as he worked to adapt to the rising temperatures. In the end, Franco’s fastest time aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1, 1min 37.674secs, was enough to place him tenth. However, he will start the race from ninth due to Alex Rins being declared unfit to race following a crash in qualifying.
Fabio and Franco’s Warm Up session will commence at 9.20am local time (3.20pm MYT), with the first MotoGP race of the 2020 season due to start at 2pm local time (8pm MYT).
Today was a really great day. Yesterday was the toughest FP1 of my career, then FP2 the feeling was better and then FP3 this morning was the first time attack lap since pre-season in Qatar. Of course it is a great feeling to be pole, especially after such a long time with no race, but this is only Saturday. We need to do the same on Sunday! We will obviously try our best, we have a good pace and we will try to get the best possible result tomorrow. We know we are strong and tyre life is good, but our rivals are also very strong. I’m focusing on the job that I need to do and hopefully we will be able to fight for the victory. I’m not obsessing over a first MotoGP win though, our goal tomorrow is to be on the podium. We have 13 races in a short space of time so we need consistent results.
I think we achieved the maximum we could today as I didn’t have the right feeling in qualifying. It was fine in the practice sessions this morning, but not qualifying. It happens from time to time with the changing track conditions, different tyres, things like this that the feeling changes between sessions. The important thing is that the pace is good for the race and we know what progress we need to make tomorrow. There were some front-end issues, which meant I couldn’t push in some areas of the track, but I think we will be fine tomorrow and I am happy with where we are.