Quartararo: fastest in all sectors and gunning for pole

Frenchman shows his class on Day 1 at Motegi as Yamaha continue to show strong potential

The ‘Twin Ring Motegi not being a Yamaha circuit’ theory has been well and truly put to bed on Friday after Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) set the fastest time in FP2 to head Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan.

Fastest in every sector in the afternoon session, the Frenchman was on fire as he took to Motegi on board a premier class machine like a duck to water. And Quartararo may have to do the same, quite literally, on Saturday as the heavens are set to open on qualifying day. However, focusing his attention firstly on Friday’s action, the rookie was very pleased with how the day panned out, reiterating what he’d said in the Press Conference about ignoring how Motegi “isn’t a Yamaha track”.

“Honestly like I said yesterday this year I’ve heard a lot about Yamaha tracks and Honda tracks and to be honest I don’t want to listen to it,” reflected the quickest man on Day 1. “If you start the weekend in your mind thinking that this isn’t a Yamaha track, then you’ll lose a little bit of motivation. So, my motivation is that the Yamaha is good at every track. I want to push 100% and we’ll see the result. In Aragon we struggled, but in Thailand and now here we’re looking quite good. So, a really impressive day for us and for Yamaha.”

It certainly was an impressive day for himself and Yamaha as a whole. All four riders managed to get themselves into the top six at the close of play, with nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) jumping up to P5 on his final flying lap to sit just ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT). And with an in-form Viñales second, the rest of the weekend looks set to be positive for Yamaha – depending on how they can handle the wet conditions.

“The plan tomorrow is, if it’s wet, for us to do our best. We know that we don’t have that much experience but, first of all, we’re in Q2 and then we’ll try our best and hope for the front three rows,” continued Quartararo, talking about Saturday.

P1, P2, P5 and P6 went the way of Yamaha on Day 1 in Japan, but the Land of the Rising Sun is set to present far from ideal conditions on Saturday. Tune in to see how Quartararo and the Yamahas get on in a wet FP3 at 10:50 local time (GMT+9).

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