Fabio Quartararo and Alex Rins supply Yamaha joy in Portimao practice

Yamaha double-entry into Q2 after Friday Practice at the Portuguese MotoGP in Portimao

Alex Rins, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 22 March
Alex Rins, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 22 March

Yamaha entered the Portuguese MotoGP playing down hope of a swift improvement but Alex Rins and Fabio Quartararo injected some positivity into the team on Friday.

Quartararo went ninth-fastest and Rins 10th-fastest during Practice at Portimao, securing a perhaps unexpected double-entry into Q2.

Rins’ under-the-radar run was a jolt of optimism for his struggling team but also massive on a personal note, after his recovery from a broken leg last year.

Rins explained entering Portimao after a private test to develop his Yamaha: “The package of the bike is the same as in Qatar.

“We didn’t have enough time to try new things.

“From FP1, I felt confident on the bike.

“This track is different to Qatar but I was able to adapt to it quicker.

“In Practice, I was quite competitive and entered Q2. It was a great achievement for me, it’s been a long time since I was in Q2, especially due to my leg issue.

“We have room to improve, and similar issues to Qatar.

“We are improving the things that we have.”

Rins had gone seventh-fastest in Friday’s morning session, an early indicator of his potential for the day.

“This afternoon we struggled to find the front,” he said.

“We used the medium front tyre. In the morning we used the soft front.

“I didn’t feel good with the medium tyre. It felt hard, I couldn’t attack the apex of the corners.

“We had an issue with the rear tyre which forced us to use a new rear medium.

“But no big changes. Just suspension and tyre compounds.”

Rins said about how Qatar differs to Portimao: “The difference is the fast corners.

“This track, you don’t have so many fast corners. Maybe the last corner.

“Compared to Qatar, this is more stop-and-go. Maybe we can take a small advantage from our bike.

“I felt quite good turning on Corner 9 and 12.”

While qualifying and the sprint race on Saturday may yet bring the Yamaha duo back down to earth, the first day at Portimao was a welcome and much-needed boost.

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