Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo complete another positive test in eighth and sixteenth place respectively, with the team learning even more than they’d hoped.
A three-day test at the Sepang International Circuit ended on a high today for the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, with Franco Morbidelli, Fabio Quartararo and the whole team having made the most of the available track time as they clocked up 2,128km on their Yamaha YZR-M1 machines and making great progress throughout. Morbidelli and Quartararo improved their lap times on each day of the test, edging into the 1’59s today to finish up in eighth and sixteenth place respectively.
Morbidelli kicked his day off with an impressive time attack that saw him make a notable improvement on his lap time and move into the top ten positions, where he remained for the rest of the day. The Italian experimented with a completely different front-end set-up on his Yamaha YZR-M1 in an attempt to improve turning and he was satisfied with the results. Franco’s best overall effort of 1’59.141 came on lap 8 of 66 completed today.
His teammate Fabio Quartararo also started out with a time attack that also saw him break the 2’00 barrier. The Frenchman also completed his first simulation on a MotoGP bike, reporting a good feeling with the bike over 18 laps. After that, Fabio and his team continued working with the front suspension to try and find further improvements in braking and his line through the final corner. The rookie finished the test in 16th position after clocking his best time today on lap 13 of 77 completed.
After this successful test here at Sepang International Circuit, the next appointment for the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team will be the Qatar test on 23, 24 and 25 February, two weeks before the season-opening Grand Prix at the same venue.
1. DANILO PETRUCCI / Ducati 1:58.239
2. FRANCESCO BAGNAIA / Ducati +0.063
3. JACK MILLER / Ducati +0.127
4. ANDREA DOVIZIOSO / Ducati +0.299
5. MAVERICK VIÑALES / Yamaha +0.405
8. FRANCO MORBIDELLI / PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team +0.902
16. FABIO QUARTARARO / PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team +1.258
Wilco Zeelenberg – PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, Team Manager
“We have had a very positive test here at a special circuit for us, even more positive than we expected in terms of the lap times and the number of laps we have been able to complete. We have learnt some good and interesting things about the 2019 bikes – like I said, more than we expected. As for the riders, we can be very happy with Fabio’s [Quartararo] progress and with Franco [Morbidelli] we would have liked to finish a little higher up but considering the odd setback we have had over the test, to set a 1’59.1 today was quite incredible. Lap time aside, the way he is riding and what we are learning about the new YZR-M1 thanks to his feedback is another big positive. The next objective for the Qatar test will be to build on what we have learnt here. Obviously, Yamaha needed to try some different options at Sepang to define certain configurations before the season starts for real, so now we will look to confirm that we are going the right way at a different circuit.”
#21 Franco Morbidelli
“The last day here at Sepang International Circuit has gone really well. We have managed to complete the programme we set out yesterday, which was to improve our pace and top speed. I wasn’t able to do a race simulation because we had a lot of things to get through but we will do that at the Qatar test. What I did manage to do for the first time was a good time attack. We also tried some different tyres, including the super soft, and gathered some useful data. We still have work to do because we want to be closer to the front but we are on the right lines and working hard to keep going in that way.”
#20 Fabio Quartararo
“Today was another positive day at the Sepang International Circuit. This morning we did a pretty good lap time, dipping inside 2’00, but our weak point remains that I am struggling to do a qualifying lap. Despite that I am very happy because on my first ever race simulation on a MotoGP bike I felt physically really good. To me that was another step forward – with the heat here and the track temperature at 60º it is very difficult – and we coped quite well. After the race simulation we went back over a couple of things and made a slight improvement at the end of the day. In Qatar we will have to work on braking and the first turn there will be a good place for that because it is really hard on the brakes. That will be our focus because in the fast corners we are in good shape.”