Will Fabio Quartararo make history this year by becoming the first rider from a satellite Yamaha team to win a MotoGP race - or might it be team-mate Franco Morbidelli?

Both Petronas Yamaha riders signed off the 2020 pre-season with strong race simulations on the final night in Qatar.

After six poles and seven podiums during his rookie campaign, Quartararo - now promoted to Factory spec M1 machinery - has his sights firmly set on the top step:

"Last year we made pole positions but zero wins, so maybe the goal for this year will be to swap; no pole positions, but winning!" he said earlier in the Qatar test.

That target might even be achievable at round one if his race pace at the end of Monday's test is anything to go by.

Although held up by slower riders in the closing stages of the simualtion, causing his lap times to 'bounce', Quartararo was still in the 1m 54s after a full 22 lap grand prix distance and had the best average pace during a Monday long run.

The caveat is that not all riders completed a race simulation on the final night, including factory Yamaha's Maverick Vinales, who looked to have a marginally faster pace during long runs on the second night.

Nonetheless, Quartararo said he also has some time still in hand…

"We made a race simulation. The pace was really good and we have a little bit of margin," he smiled. "I'm really happy because it was a pace of '54 high for almost all the race simulation."

Quartararo's best flying lap put him fourth (+0.219s) on the final timesheets behind Vinales, Morbidelli and Rins.

"I think I can improve my time attack because I did a mistake on my lap, I made my fastest lap with five laps on the tyre and it was [still] good," he said.

"For the GP weekend I want to improve the fast lap as we know it is normally our speciality. I know we can do it for the first round though and I’m really happy about the job we did today."

Morbidelli, riding the A-Spec version of the M1, was a close match for Quartararo during his race simulation, while also leading the timesheets for large parts of the day.

"It was a positive test for us overall. We closed the gap to the top little by little and today the pace was really good. The hot lap was also very good, so I’m happy about that," he said.

"We will take the positives and try to improve even more and make a good job in the race, which is the most important thing. I’m very happy about this pre-season and I think that we have a good feeling straight away from Sepang."

Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg said: "It was also very important to have the right feeling for the race simulation.

"I’m very pleased with both riders’ results: Fabio was clearly fast like last year but now Franco has made a step up and also proven how quick he is with a top three result.

"Yamaha promised us two good spec bikes and clearly they have given us this. We are now looking forward to the race next week."

 

Comments

Loading Comments...