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Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo snuck inside the top five on the opening day of the myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, which is no mean feat for a Yamaha rider. The 2018 Austrian Grand Prix was a weekend to forget for the Japanese factory after they failed to finish any session inside the top five. However, twelve months on, Yamaha have two riders inside the top five thanks to the efforts of Quartararo and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales.
The rookie sensation ended just under a quarter of a second adrift of FP2’s pacesetter Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), all whilst continuing to adapt to the suspension upgrade he received at the post-Czech GP Test.
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For the first time this season, Quartararo is running the full-factory carbon front forks instead of the aluminium forks he has used for the first half of the season. But, as today was only his second full day of running the upgrade, the 20-year-old says it’s too early to start drawing comparisons.
“We took the decision to use the carbon forks midweek so it’s difficult to say now as it’s just the second day I have used them after the test. I’m feeling comfortable with the front forks and step by step I’m getting used to this new suspension.”
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Meanwhile, the Frenchman is aware of the difficulties he might have keeping up with the pace at the front as the weekend progresses. Yamaha has never tasted podium success in Austria and Quartararo is remaining realistic with his goals for the remainder of the weekend.
“It’s a really tough track for us but I’m really happy to finish inside the top five at the end of the first day. The goal was to be inside the top ten, so we reached our goal. Tomorrow, FP3 will be like qualifying to get into Q2 but this is our goal – to get straight into Q2 and not go into Q1. It’s not easy for us but we are giving one hundred percent.”
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