PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider claims first points of the season, finishing eighth. Franco Morbidelli suffers an unfortunate crash on the final lap, when fighting for sixth place.
The PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team experienced mixed fortunes at the Argentina GP on Sunday, as Fabio Quartararo claimed his first points in the MotoGP category whilst Franco Morbidelli crashed out on the final lap.
After a difficult debut in Qatar last time out, Quartararo enjoyed a solid race at Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit, finishing in eighth place and earning his first points of the year.
The Frenchman was very consistent with his lap times in his second race in the class and spent practically the entirety of the contest in tenth place. Late crashes for his teammate and for another rider would move him up into eighth at the chequered flag.
Morbidelli’s unfortunate crash came at Turn 7 during the last lap of the race, when he was in eighth position and challenging for the Top 6. The Italian was enjoying an excellent race – one of his best performances in MotoGP – and had been in the podium spots during the initial stages.
Quartararo and Morbidelli are now in 12th and 16th position in the overall standings, respectively, with 8 and 5 points apiece. The Frenchman is the top rookie in the MotoGP class, whilst PETRONAS Yamaha SRT are eighth in the team standings.
The next race will take place at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, from April 12-14th.
Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager
“If we analyse only the race, we are happy with Fabio Quartararo’s result and even more so after listening to his comments, in which he explained that he struggled early on with a full tank. We are satisfied with his eighth position, in what is only his second race in MotoGP.
Franco Morbidelli was up at the front from the start of the race and fought until the last lap. It’s a shame about his crash, because we lost some important points, but it was a race situation in which three riders were going for it. Fortunately, everyone involved is fine.
It has been a positive weekend overall, for our riders and for the team, so we’ll take that away from Argentina and prepare for Austin, where in two weeks’ time we will try to get good results for both riders.”
#21 Franco Morbidelli –
The race had been going very well for us and we were fighting for the top positions – just like we wanted to do. I felt very strong in parts of the circuit.
I had a great time dicing with Rossi, Miller and Crutchlow, and it was a really good race until the final lap. I was fighting for sixth position when I reached Viñales.
I didn’t want to try a pass, but I couldn’t brake properly due to the double slipstream. Maybe it was this – combined with his attempt to cut in to pass Petrucci – that led us both to go down.
It was a shame for both of us, but fortunately we are both okay. It’s important to take away the positives from this race, so that we can keep at the same level and continue improving at the next round.
Both Yamaha and the team have worked really well throughout the weekend, which is what I’ll take away from this race.”
#20 Fabio Quartararo –
“I am very happy with what we have done today in Argentina. I was worried before coming here because we had not tested at the track, and it is a circuit at which I had always struggled in other classes, but I was always in the Top 10 this weekend, so it’s been very positive.
I learned a lot from the other riders today; I made some mistakes at the start, through being over-eager to do things well. It was my first time in the middle of a group battling with a full fuel tank, so it wasn’t easy.
Later on we were able to find our pace and have a good race. I want to thank the entire team for the great work they have done, both today and throughout the weekend.”
1. MARC MARQUEZ / Honda41’43.688
2. VALENTINO ROSSI / Yamaha+9.816
3. ANDREA DOVIZIOSO / Ducati+10.530
4. JACK MILLER / Ducati+12.140
5. ALEX RINS / Suzuki+12.563
8. FABIO QUARTARARO / PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team+20.403
DNF. FRANCO MORBIDELLI / PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team