Fabio Quartararo set the pace during day one of the Valencia MotoGP test, despite a fast fall from his Petronas Yamaha.

While the 2019 rookie sensation - who claimed his sixth pole and seventh podium during the final race weekend - didn't have the latest M1 engine on offer to the factory team, Quartararo was handed a carbon-fibre swingarm and latest fairing for the first time.

The 20-year-old finished the day with a time of 1m 30.163s, putting him 0.164s clear of factory Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales.

Quartararo completed 82 Tuesday laps despite his fall, more than any other rider, including extensive back-to-back tests of the carbon fibre and standard aluminium swingarm.

Valentino Rossi had spent several race weekends with the carbon swingarm, already used by Yamaha's main MotoGP rivals, before switching back to the aluminium. Quartararo also felt it wasn't a clear-cut decision, since while the carbon fibre offers better feeling it lacks drive grip out of the corners.

"With the carbon fibre I had a good feeling, smooth, but looks like the performance is less, so we need to improve the drive area, because riding with the carbon is not bad but we are missing performance," Quartararo said.

"The performance we lose in drive compared to aluminium is something that I think Yamaha must work on because I have a really good feeling with the carbon."

The other main update was the latest double-wing fairing, with which factory riders Vinales and Rossi, plus Quartararo's team-mate Franco Morbidelli finished this season.

"Yeah, we tried it but not in a really good way so I think tomorrow we will try again because we had some problem with the tyres," said Quartararo, whose lower spec 2019 package featured only the first 2019 Yamaha fairing. "But I think for tomorrow we will try [the fairing] again and maybe I can feel a little bit more."

But the biggest problem of Quartararo's day was undoubtedly the big turn 10 tumble, from which he fortunately emerged almost unscathed.

"I was on let's say time-attack mode, but with a little bit of a used front tyre," Quartararo said of this fast Turn 10 accident. "I lost a little bit of control on the left and braked a little bit too much on the edge of the tyre.

"The track conditions were not so bad, but not the same as qualifying. I had some movement in Turn 9 and then I wanted exactly the same [speed at Turn 10] but small mistakes in a really critical corner like this can make you crash, like I did.

"I'm okay. Just a little bit of pain on the ribs, but nothing broken and apart from that it was a really positive day. We made four more laps after the crash just to have a feedback and everything was okay. I was just pushing a little bit too much for the conditions."

Casting his mind back one year ago when he first rode the M1, Quartararo quipped: "The main difference is that today I was 1st, not 20th!

"Of course it was really special to see the rookies today, because when I saw Binder and Alex it was exactly my place last year, when I was a little bit lost but so happy to be in MotoGP. I could overtake them like people were overtaking me last year!"

The Valencia test concludes on Wednesday evening after which there will be a two day test at Jerez next week.

Quartararo and Morbidelli (who also tried the carbon fibre swingarm for the first time today) are not expected to get their 2020 factory-spec bikes until the Sepang test in February.

“It was a positive day for us because we were able to try a couple of things like new aerodynamics, some chassis components and the carbon fibre swing-arm and try and increase the performance of the bike," said Morbidelli, who completed Tuesday's all-Yamaha top three.. "Some things were good and some weren’t quite as good, of course, but in the end it was a productive day for us.

"We were fast as well, which is nice, and it’ll be a case of trying to improve a little bit more and understand the new parts a little better tomorrow. The most important job for tomorrow will be to reconfirm what we tried today and maybe to try some more new parts as well.”

 

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