Fabio Quartararo overcomes FP1 'disaster', Franco Morbidelli back to his best?

Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli were in fine form as they secured a Monster Energy Yamaha 1-2 during the second Mandalika MotoGP practice session.
Fabio Quartararo, Indonesian MotoGP, 18 March 2022
Fabio Quartararo, Indonesian MotoGP, 18 March 2022
© Gold and Goose

After a difficult FP1 in which the reigning MotoGP world champion was only 16th, Quartararo showed the type of pace we’ve become accustomed to seeing over the last year to pip Morbidelli by under half a tenth.

FP2 looked set to be another tough session for the 22 year-old as Quartararo had to abort his opening stint after an electronics issue on just his fourth lap. 

And while it was his race simulation that took the biggest hit, Quartararo demonstrated serious one lap pace, something that was surprisingly missing during the Qatar weekend.   

Despite topping the timingsheets, Quartararo still feels more potential can be unlocked from his M1 Yamaha, which hasn’t been struggling as much with regards to top speeds due to the lack of long straights in Mandalika. 

Summing up his opening day, Quartararo added: "Basically this morning I didn't feel so great with the wet patches and at the end I tried the hard front and it was a bit of a disaster. 

"I didn’t have a great feeling and this afternoon basically we started with the bike like the test and the second bike was a bit different.

"But I had no time to try the bike from the test and instead we went directly with a new set-up on the second bike because I had an issue with the electronics.  

"But the feeling was good and I think we still have a little bit more potential to improve. I expected to finish in the top five today. Of course P1 is much better."

One of the big changes for this weekend compared to last month’s test is the change in rear tyre consumption. 

Michelin have brought what they called ‘special casings’ for this weekend’s Indonesian Grand Prix which has led to positives and negatives from some.

Less upbeat about the new rear carcasses was Quartararo as he called it ‘a bit worse’. 

Quartararo continued: "For me it was a little bit worse and you can feel it, but you know it's totally different because like I said after three days of tests the track was full of rubber. 

"Today is the first day of riding. We don’t make so many laps like in the test to clean and put rubber on the track. 

"So I expected much more change with this rear tyre but for me the performance and consistency, the tyre that we had in the test was much better." 

Although Quartararo was less than impressed by Michelin’s revised tyre allocation, Ducati rider Jack Miller had very different views.

"It’s working really, really well, I’m enjoying it," Miller claimed. "There’s a lot of stability in this tyre and I can’t fault it whatsoever. 

"The soft tyre feels maybe a little bit too soft with the temperature. It was so hot there in the afternoon that I did a 16 lap run and after 10 laps I was starting to get overheating. 

"But the nice thing is when you slow down for one lap and then push; I was getting within one tenth of my best lap on a tyre that a lap before felt like it was falling off the edge of a cliff. 

"The stability is there, but yeah, it’s about understanding which one to use and the pros and cons of each compound."

One of the stars of day-one was Quartararo’s team-mate Morbidelli as the Italian was both rapid in qualifying and race trim. 

It’s the first sign of Morbidelli being back to the type of form that resulted in him finishing as runner-up to Joan Mir in 2020. 

With his knee injury a thing of the past, can Morbidelli, who said 'it’s still early to make predictions' continue this trend and once again become a consistent challenger at the front?

Speaking after today’s running, the former Moto2 world champion said: "Many things were different compared to the test: the tyres, the tarmac. So, it was really difficult to change things on the bike, because many key elements had changed this Friday. 

"So, today we just tried to adapt to the new situation, and we did quite well, because we were decently fast, and finally also on new tyres Fabio and I were fast. 

"Overall, a positive day for us I would say. I feel good. I was feeling good in Qatar too, but it‘s still early and it‘s difficult to make predictions this early on."

Read More