Fabio Quartararo and Petronas Sepang Racing Team Secures Second Pole in Catalunya MotoGP

Photo credit - MotoGP.com
  • Rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo put himself and his Petronas Sepang Racing Team on pole for tomorrow’s Catalunya MotoGP.

  • It’s the fledgling team’s second pole position in their very first season in the premier class.

  • There are four Yamahas in the Top 5.

--Innity--

Rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo put himself and his Petronas Sepang Racing Team on pole for tomorrow’s Catalunya MotoGP.

It’s the fledgling team’s second pole position in their very first season in the premier class. What made the French youngster’s feat even more astounding was his arm pump surgery just 11 days ago. On top of that, bear in mind that he’s riding the 2018-spec Yamaha YZR-M1.

It’s also noteworthy that this round seems to show Yamaha’s resurgence. Quartararo, Maverick Vinalez (Monster Energy Yamaha), Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi made it 1-3-4,5 for Yamaha. Only Marc Marquez was cheeky enough to slot into second among them.

Marquez is the crowd’s home hero but had posted times no faster than 2nd through FP4 and the beginning of Q2. But on the last flying lap of the session, he hung on to Rossi’s coattail for a tow reminiscent of his act of slipstreaming Andrea Dovizioso in Mugello two weeks ago. However, he made a mistake and hit a turn too fast, causing the front tyre to wash out. He saved the bike with his knee, but it ruined his chances of stealing the pole position.

It was visible that Maverick Vinalez was riding hard since Friday and he did enough to put himself in 3rd, thereby saving the factory Yamaha team from being embarrassed by the satellite team (again).

Franco Morbidelli was also a hero for the Petronas SRT outfit. A heavy crash in the morning saw him stretchered off the kitty litter. That meant that he had to fight his way through Q1. And fought he did by going fastest in the session to be promoted to Q2. He then set the second fastest time behind Quartararo on their first outing together, before being relegated to fourth.

Valentino Rossi had his best qualifying session in a long time and after the disaster in his home race in Mugello.

Apart from Marquez, all Honda and Ducati riders suffered at the track. Catalunya features tight, decreasing radius turns that benefit bikes with mid-corner speed and ability to hold tight lines. This played into the hands of Yamaha and Suzuki.

Dovizisio (Mission Winnow Ducati) could only manage sixth on the grid, with his teammate Danilo Petrucci behind him in 7th. Dovizioso had remarked many times that the Ducati Desmosedici doesn’t like to keep turning in mid-corner.

Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) actually posted 0.200s faster than Quartararo after the third sector but crashed at Turn 10. Yet, he still qualified 8thon the grid – his best starting position ever. His teammate Joan Mir also performed well this time around, starting tomorrow’s race from 11th.

Cal Crutchlow ended the session in 9th, while Jorge Lorenzo qualified in the Top 10 for the first time since he joined Honda.

Quartararo has shown that he has the speed in qualifying shootouts but has yet to convert his strong qualifying into podium positions. It all came down to the 2018 YZR-M1’s appetite in chewing up the rear tyre over a race distance. The 2019 YZR-M1, on the other hand, lacks top speed but Catalunya may just prove to be the venue to break their duck.

--Ads--

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here