Second consecutive third row start for Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo has impressed on his debut season in the premier class. (Reuters picture)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s first MotoGP team, Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (Petronas Yamaha SRT) had a positive outcome during the qualifying round despite limited track time at the Grand Prix of Americas in Austin, Texas, on Saturday.

Due to a thunderstorm, the Free Practice 3 (FP3) for the third round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship season had to be cancelled.

Its riders, Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli will start their race from the third and fourth row respectively.

The 20-lap MotoGP Grand Prix of The Americas will takes place at 3am Monday morning.

According to the team in their official website, Morbidelli and Quartararo started the session with wet tyres, but the track rapidly began to dry, allowing both to change onto slicks in the final minutes.

Morbidelli, who is currently 11th in the overall standings, noted his team had to alter their planning due to the morning rain which caused the FP3 cancellation.

“We could say the cancellation of FP3 completely altered our plans. We tried something different with our setup in terms of weight distribution, but really I was only able to test it out in Q2 as that was the only fully dry session.

“The mixed conditions in FP4 didn’t allow us to draw any conclusions. It was good for us, but not for the feeling of the bike, because we couldn’t push it to the limit and it wasn’t a true demonstration of our potential. Unfortunately, I had to discover that it didn’t work as we expected in Q2. We finished tenth, which isn’t bad,” said Morbodelli.

Meanwhile, Quartararo also agreed with his teammate despite clocking the ninth fastest lap time of 2:04.941s.

“It was a day of very complicated weather conditions. We went out for FP4 with wet tyres, but the track was partially dry in places, so it was difficult to understand the best way to ride.

“We started off with a full tank and were not very confident. Going into Q2 without 100% confidence is not ideal, but finishing ninth is a good result. It’s a spot on the third row, so I’m very happy with the work that we’ve done at this difficult circuit,” said the Frenchman.

As for Malaysian MotoGP rider Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah, he was disappointed with his motorcycle when adapting to the challenging weather.

“Yesterday afternoon I had a really good feeling with the KTM, so we used the same setup in Qualifying, but I don’t understand why I didn’t have the same sensations, as I was struggling to stop and to turn the bike.

“To be honest, I’m a bit disappointed about this feeling, because I thought we could improve our time a bit more,” he said.

Hafizh Syahrin will start the race from the seventh row after settling in 21st place in the qualifying.

“To start in P21 is not, what I was wishing for, but we keep pushing and learning and try to push even more come race day. I aim to find a good pace during the warm up and hope I can stay inside a good group of riders to do a strong race like in Argentina,” he added.