Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales have started their 2021 MotoGP campaign today at the Losail International Circuit. They finished in 3rd and 6th place respectively in the combined Friday free practice timesheets.
Losail (Qatar), 26th March 2021
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales went straight down to business today during the first two free practice sessions of the Grand Prix of Qatar. They continued developing their set-ups for Sunday's race and finished the day in 3rd and 6th place respectively in the combined Friday free practice results.

Quartararo was a man with a plan for the inaugural Friday session. He got straight back to work and gradually started building up his race pace and concluded the first FP1 of 2021 by setting two consecutive personal best times. His 1’55.213s on lap 16/16 earned him fourth place, 0.292s from first.

The Frenchman had saved some soft tyres for the FP2 session, which is predicted to be more similar in terms of track conditions to those of Sunday’s race, held at 20:00 local time (GMT+3). He briefly topped the timesheets with 12 minutes to go. The pace soon picked up, but the youngster responded. He set a 1’53.575s on lap 16/17 to take third place in the FP2 and combined free practice results, 0.188s from the top.

Viñales got back into the rhythm with ease. He soon featured inside the provisional top 2 as he started work on Sunday’s race set-up and kept the position. The Spaniard spent the remainder of the afternoon track time focusing on his own free practice plans. He ended FP1 in sixth place, 0.388s from first, thanks to the 1’55.309s he on lap 7/18.

The Spaniard continued work in FP2, but didn’t have the same feeling. However, despite the short interruption of a red flag due to debris on the track, he did book progress throughout the cooler evening session, making the last lap his fastest of the weekend thus far. He finished in sixth place in the FP2 and combined rankings, with a 1'53.639s lap and a 0.252s-margin to the front.
Massimo Meregalli

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

Today we’ve officially kicked off the 2021 season and got straight to work. FP1 was a good start. Fabio and Maverick felt comfortable on their bikes. Then, in FP2, both riders used the beginning of the session to test different settings. After that they focused on getting in their time attacks, because the conditions were good, and also considering that tomorrow the temperatures during FP3 will be too hot. Even though we have a good base set-up, we have a bit of room for improvements, and we will use the next sessions to work on that. We will simulate the race in FP4. But overall we are satisfied about how we started the season without any inconveniences.
Fabio Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

I’m so happy to finally make our first laps of the 2021 season. We didn’t ride with the best tyre option in FP1 because we needed to save the soft tyres for later, for the right moment. We tried something on the first run of FP2 that I didn’t like, but it’s good to have been able to try it. Now we know. It was also good to do the two time attacks at the end. It was tough, because our competitors are fast, but I’m happy that I’ve done two great laps. There were some small mistakes to improve on, but overall I’m happy with today.
Maverick Viñales

Maverick Viñales

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

We had to wait a long time to start the season. I think we picked up in FP1 where we left off during the Qatar Test. Everything was working well and I felt fantastic on the bike on track, keeping the lines and riding smoothly. In the evening we felt a little bit different than we did during the test. For sure, the track is not in the same condition, but we are certain that we will be able to improve during the race weekend. The bike is working well, it’s just the conditions that are different, so we need to understand the set-up. For tomorrow we will focus on the balance of the bike to see if we can improve. I know we will fix it. I can’t wait for tomorrow to put in some nice laps.