Yamaha surprise with direct Q2 access: Quartararo ‘feels good’, ‘Great achievement' for Rins

Fabio Quartararo and Yamaha team-mate Alex Rins surprise by securing direct access to Qualifying 2 on Friday at the Portimao MotoGP.

Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 22 March
Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 22 March

After the misery of starting just 16th and 20th in Qatar, Monster Yamaha riders Fabio Quartararo and Alex Rins both made it directly through to Saturday’s Qualifying 2 for the Portimao MotoGP.

The pair finished Friday afternoon’s session in ninth and tenth places, just 0.008s apart and half-a-second from the leading Ducati of Enea Bastianini.

That was despite the M1 often struggling in Friday’s dusty, low grip conditions and being particularly weak when it comes to extracting maximum grip from a fresh tyre during a time attack.

“Having both our riders inside the top 10 and lined up for Q2 is a job well done,” said team boss Massimo Meregalli. “Of course, this is always our aim, but we know that, realistically, that's not so easy to achieve at the moment.

“The track was a bit dirty today, and usually we struggle in those circumstances, but today we were ok.”

Quartararo, who began the season with eleventh place and +17 seconds from victory in Qatar, said:

“I feel quite good. We are in Q2 and this is quite positive. We have many things to change for tomorrow, other manufacturers also, but I think we have a bit of margin ourselves from today.

"In Qatar we learnt a lot and the riding style we were doing was completely different to the riding style of last year…and it is still different! It is not easy for me. It is not a completely new bike but the style is different and I still need a bit of time to improve."

Quartararo also revealed: “We are adjusting a lot the electronics, which is something that is a problem are and where we have to make a massive step.

“Of course we will not massively change the bike [tomorrow] but on the electronics we have a lot to work and improve.”

Having Rins evenly matched not only in lap time but riding style also helps.

“Frankie was also fast but up and downs. Alex has more of a riding style like me but he is a bit different on the electronics so it is kind of critical,” Quartararo said. “He is one of the only riders to ride like that.

“In terms of speed he is really fast and on a track like here we have the memory of both fighting for the victory. He is fast and that is helpful for me.”

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

Rins: 'A great achievement for me'

Team-mate Rins emphasised that he was using the same bike spec as Qatar, with new parts not due until Monday’s private test.

“The bike is the same as it was in Qatar. We didn't have time to try new things, but from FP1 on, I felt confident on the bike,” Rins said.

“This track is quite different from Lusail, and I was able to adapt much quicker. In Practice, I was quite competitive, and I was able to enter Q2. It's a great achievement for me.

“For a long time, I couldn't be in Q2, also due to the leg issue. It's been many GPs since I was last in Q2, and we have room to improve.

“We have similar points of improvement as we had in Qatar, so we are gathering information and improving the things we have and try to benefit from this as much as possible.”


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