Fabio Quartararo says he didn’t expect to top Friday practice at the Thailand MotoGP for Petronas Yamaha and is confident he still has considerable lap time gains to find from his package.

The MotoGP rookie stunned once again to produce the fastest lap of the day of 1m 30.404s during the late qualifying-style runs at the end of FP2 to edge out Maverick Vinales on the factory Yamaha.

While the French rider concedes he’s losing time on the long straights at the Chang International Circuit due to Yamaha’s top speed deficit to the likes of Ducati and Honda, with Quartararo almost six km/h slower than Miller who leads in the speed trap, he feels clear gains can still be found both from his riding style at the Buriram track and tweaks to his electronics settings.

“The normal run was really good. Honestly, I didn’t expect to ride this fast, and like I said, we have something to improve on the bike that maybe can give us one or two tenths,” Quartararo said. “If we achieve what we really think about this setting, we will be really happy.

“If you look, first and second sector is only three corners, so I think that's why the, let’s say, powerful bikes are in front, but when you arrive to sector three and four, there are much more corners, and I think our bike is, the really strong point of the Yamaha is the turning.

“The bike feels really good, but we still need to work a little bit, we have some ideas with the team. My riding style also I know some corners where we need to improve, on the electronics too, me adapt better on the riding style, and for sure more laps on the track and we will get there.”

Having seen Marquez suffer a heavy high-side during FP1, only to fight back in the afternoon session despite being sent to hospital for checks between practices, Quartararo dismissed the idea it would rule out the Repsol Honda from fighting for victory in Thailand.

“Well, he had a crash, went to the hospital, and on his first lap afterwards he was first,” he said. “So I don't know what to say about him, but I think he's there and he will play for the victory for sure.”

Marquez claimed victory at the first-ever Thailand MotoGP 12 months ago, beating Andrea Dovizioso in a last-lap duel, with a trio of Yamaha riders finishing directly behind with Vinales third, Valentino Rossi fourth and Johann Zarco fifth.

 

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