Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli got in their first laps around the Circuit of The Americas (Austin, Texas, USA) during the Friday free practice sessions today, securing 3rd and 15th place respectively.
Austin (Texas), 1st October 2021
With weather forecasts predicting mixed conditions for this weekend’s Grand Prix of The Americas, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli didn’t waste any time working on their wet settings in FP1, followed by the duo fighting for a top-10 placement in a fully dry FP2 session. The teammates ended Day 1 in Austin in 3rd and 15th place respectively in the combined timesheets.

During the rainy morning session, Quartararo was keen to switch up his wet weather set-up, which is an area where he feels he can make further improvements. He shot up to sixth place within the first ten minutes. Improving his best time frequently, he remained in the top 10 for most of the session until the final ten minutes when dry lines started to form on track. The mixed conditions made negotiating the partially resurfaced and very bumpy COTA track even trickier. El Diablo ended the session with a 2'18.165s best time, set on lap 16/16, for 15th place, 2.293s from the front.

The Frenchman was quick to show strong pace in the dry FP2. More in his element in the sun, he got to work. The pressure was on to secure a spot in the top-10 as conditions remain uncertain for tomorrow's FP3. Quartararo put in a soft rear tyre in the final stages for his time attack. Avoiding the yellow flags, he clocked a 2'04.366s on lap 15/17 that briefly put him in first place and ultimately earned him third in the FP2 and combined results, 0.202s from first.

Morbidelli used the first 45 minutes of track time to get his YZR-M1’s wet set-up sorted and assess the condition of his injured left leg. He noticed an improvement since the Misano Test. He no longer feels any pain when riding his YZR-M1, allowing him to focus on finding a good base wet set-up in Austin. He secured 17th place with a best time of 2’18.530s, set on lap 13/14, 2.658s from first.

Despite the physicality of the Circuit of The Americas due to the rapid direction changes and the bumpy track surface, the Italian was pushing hard in the afternoon to also get the bike’s dry settings ready for Sunday's race. He put in an impressive run in the final stages which briefly saw him in eighth position. He ultimately ended in 15th place in the FP2 and combined free practice results, with a 2'05.296s best time, set on lap 13/14, 1.132s from the top.
Massimo Meregalli

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

We had both fully wet and fully dry track time today, which is useful for us. The Austin track has been partially resurfaced and in other places the tarmac was milled, but the result was not as good as it should be. Still, it was good for the riders to experience it in various conditions today. The track’s lay-out is tricky in general, and the bumps make it more difficult. We made a good step in the wet FP1 session. The feeling with the bike was better compared to previous wet sessions, especially in the full-wet conditions. But there is still room for further improvement in these circumstances. FP2 was a different story. It was completely dry, so we tried to work on the pace for most of the session, and then at the end we did a time attack because we are not sure if tomorrow's FP3 will be dry. We will go over all the data this evening with the aim to make the riders more comfortable on this tricky and bumpy circuit.
Fabio Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

I'm really happy. I think it was a good day. I'm happier about FP1, because we made a step in the wet. We tried something totally different, and we found more rear grip. The position was not great, but my feeling was much better, so I'm happy. FP2 showed that the track is not suitable to race on. It's like a motocross track with asphalt. Of course, this is the same for everyone, but I think in terms of safety it's really bad. Adapting to the track conditions was not easy. But I will do my best in the wet, the dry, or whatever the conditions are like. I can't control the weather, but what's always true is that I will give my 100% in any type of condition.

Franco Morbidelli

Franco Morbidelli

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

It's a real challenge riding here, but we're here for that. Actually, I felt better than I did in Misano with the knee and also with the setting. We are getting better and better. We're trying to adapt the bike to my style. Today, we found some good solutions. We are trying to keep on working, and I'm trying to heal as fast as possible. We're trying to do the best we can.