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Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo has started his home GP with a third-place finish on the combined times as the Shark Helmets Grand Prix de France faithful remain hopeful the rookie can repeat his Jerez heroics this weekend.
Of course, subtracting the gearbox issue in Sunday's race from the equation would be ideal and it’s started well for Quartararo who ends Friday as the second fastest Yamaha, 0.285 off pacesetter Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) as the duo head up the YZR-M1 charge in Le Mans.
“A really positive day” for home rider 'Fast Fabio'!
The 20-year-old was the man to beat in FP1 and overall, ‘el diablo’ is more than happy with how Day 1 has gone in front of his home crowd: “Of course, today was really good. The pace was also good, but we need to keep working on that for tomorrow. Overall, it’s been really positive. We did some fast lap times in the morning and then this afternoon, also we did three or four laps. So really positive for tomorrow.”
But with rain expected at some point on both Saturday and Sunday, things might not play into the Frenchman’s hands having had little to no experience in wet conditions on a MotoGP™ machine. This won’t phase him though and if we’ve learnt anything from Quartararo’s short premier class career up to now, it’s to never discount him.
“If it’s raining, for sure it’ll be really difficult,” admits Quartararo. “I’ve never won in the rain so if the qualifying is in the rain it will be difficult as I think it’ll be our first time. But we’ll do our best to get the best position possible.”
The passionate French supporters will be pushing both Quartararo and compatriot Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) round every inch of the 4.2km Le Mans layout during qualifying, with it looking like the Yamaha rider has cemented a place in Q2 if the weather worsens on Saturday morning. We now wait to see if FP3 is dry or wet…
MotoGP™ FP2 in France: who will top Free Practice Friday?