What a sensational Saturday for MotoGP™’s newest team. Petronas Yamaha SRT, in just their fourth ever qualifying, locks out the first two grid slots for Sunday’s Gran Premio Red Bull de España after Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli put in a masterful Q2 in Jerez.
At just 20 years and 14 days, Quartararo became the youngest ever premier class rider to claim pole position after breaking the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto lap record. It’s a record that used to belong to Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) but after Saturday’s breathless action, that crown now belongs to the Frenchman.
“I never expect that I can make pole position today so it’s really amazing to be on pole,” reflected the MotoGP™ rookie, who when first announced as a Petronas Yamaha SRT rider for 2019 was a surprise choice for many.
“My first in MotoGP. All the team have worked a lot throughout the weekend, and I want to thank them for making this possible… For me the team is unbelievable. It’s a brand-new team but inside we have a lot of experience. Last year was tough in the beginning but they believed in me for MotoGP™ so yes, it’s an incredible feeling for them and for me.”
Teammate Morbidelli reiterated the flying Frenchman’s points about the team after the Italian was able to earn his best premier class qualifying result to date: “Great, a great day for us. We were fast throughout the whole day, we improved a lot compared to yesterday. I think also the conditions improved a lot so we depended a lot by that but anyway it’s a great result for the team. They’re new but we’re already getting these great results. So I’m just happy for everybody inside the team, they deserve this.
“1-2 I think is unbelievable, this shows how well they worked during this winter, during last year preparing everything, and during this season, so they just deserve this the team is full of great people.”
Can Petronas Yamaha SRT get at least one rider on the podium tomorrow? They've become the first satellite team to get a 1-2 in qualifying since Sete Gibernau and Marco Melandri were 1st and 2nd at the 2005 Valencian GP, but what an incredible achievement a podium would be in only their fourth race. And it’s certainly possible, but it won’t be easy with riders like Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati), Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and more breathing down their necks on the start line.