Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo went straight down to business today during the first two free practice sessions of the Grand Prix of Qatar. They worked on their race set-ups for Sunday and finished the day in 5th and 8th place respectively in the combined Friday free practice results.
Morbidelli put any concerns about his healing progress to bed in the hot and humid FP1. He was soon up in third place with a 1’55.551, on his seventh lap. The Italian showed no signs of slowing down, completing two runs of nine laps each. He improved his best time to a 1’55.294s, set on lap 17/18, to finish the first session of the 2022 season in sixth place, 0.443s from first.
The number-21 rider resumed the action as the clock struck 18:00 local time. He continued to work on his bike’s setting, only to put it to the test at the very end of the session. He set a 1’53.845s on lap 18/19, that moved him up to the top 5. He concluded his first day of riding at 100% fitness in fifth place in the FP2 and the combined standings, 0.413s from first.
Quartararo had his head in the game from the off. He immediately started preparing for Sunday’s race, eager to repeat the 2021 Doha GP result. The Frenchman worked systematically on his bike’s set-up and gradually improved his race pace over the first 45 minutes of riding action at Losail. He produced a 1’55.600s on lap 17/18, that put him in 11th place, 0.749s from the top.
The number-20 rider made a big step in the evening session. With the sun setting, the conditions got trickier, catching out multiple riders. Meanwhile the defending World Champion shaved off more than 1.3s of his FP1 time by his twelfth lap. With eight minutes on the clock, he started his final push of the first free practice Friday of 2022. He ended in eighth place in the FP2 and combined FP standings, 0.474s from first, with a 1’53.906s best lap set on 16/17.