Grand prix

Portimao MotoGP: Quartararo: ‘We need to find something’ after qualifying P7 | MotoGP

World Champion Fabio Quartararo has suffered an unexpectedly difficult Portimao MotoGP qualifying after finishing seventh.

The Monster Energy Yamaha rider, along with Francesco Bagnaia, looked like an odds-on favorite to battle for pole following free practice, however, the Frenchman failed to find his rhythm around the Algarve International Circuit. 

After finishing top in both Friday’s sessions and second to Bagnaia by just +0.001s in FP3 third, Quartararo already began struggling during FP4 after modifying the set-up. 

“It was not an easy day. The afternoon was quite tricky. We didn’t find our way like we did yesterday,” said Quartararo.

“The feeling was not great, and I expected much better from FP4 with the hard tyre. But my feeling was not as good as I expected, and we modified the set-up a bit. 

“We need to find something for tomorrow. Of course, we will go back to the normal base setting and try to make our pace like it was in the past. 

“We have the warm-up tomorrow to confirm everything. If we find our pace with the medium tyre, we can do a great race. We need to work on that tomorrow.”

Given his overall performance this weekend and the fact Quartararo won April’s early season race in Portimao, it would be a surprise if the 22 year-old is unable to come through the field for a podium at least.

On the other side of the garage, Franco Morbidelli has enjoyed by far his strongest weekend since returning from a knee injury at Misano (1).

The Italian also qualified on the third row, but more importantly has been able to hold a much improved race pace, an area that proved problematic last time out. 

Morbidelli added: “I’m happy about today because we made a step compared to yesterday. 

“We were much closer to the top, and we did it on a day when our rivals were very strong. 

“We are closer to Fabio, who is always the best Yamaha. I’m happy about that, and it has been a good day for me.”

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