At the first ever Indian MotoGP, Fabio Quartararo overcame a disastrous first practice to advance directly to Qualifying 2. In the extra 70-minute morning practice, the Frenchman only completed 9 laps and finished 19th because both of his Yamaha M1s developed gearbox problems on the straight. Yamaha technicians were able to resolve the problem. In the final stages of Practice 2, Quartararo was in second place after making up for lost time with 29 laps. He had been worried about the long straights leading up to the event. Quartararo finished eighth, only half a second behind leader Luca Marini of VR46 Ducati, despite the yellow flags that plagued the final minutes.
MotoGP Bharat GP: Yamaha’s Friday Session
India's Buddh circuit has one of the longest straights in the world championship. As a result, not many people would have predicted that Fabio Quartararo would enter the Q2 by the end of Friday. Still, Quartararo did manage to do enough to advance through the session, finishing the day in eighth place on his Yamaha.
Here's what Fabio Quartararo said after the Friday session, " It was difficult because I think I had nine laps in the morning and I could not really learn the track. To be honest, many corners are quite difficult. First to find the breaking reference, turn eight, nine, and find the correct line, 10, 11, 12. Many, many corners were difficult. I said it was going to be super difficult to go into the Q2 and we did it. I'm pretty happy, but in some parts, the layout is quite difficult to learn."
When asked as to what happened to his Yamaha M1 during the FP1 session, Quartararo said, “Gearbox issue, twice. The same problem.”
“We broke two gearboxes in 10 labs. It was a shame that I could not ride it in the morning and later, we went back to the old gearbox," he added.
MotoGP Bharat GP: What did Yamaha Team Director Massimo Mregalli Think about BIC?
"We didn’t have the best of starts to the Indian GP,” said Team Director Massimo Mregalli. “We lost a lot of time due to an issue related to transmission. The problem was completely fixed for the afternoon session, but it did mean we had a lot of work to catch up on. Fabio took well to the track and, despite the time we lost, he still managed to secure a spot in Q2. Franky made a good step too, considering the time he had, but in the end, it was not enough for a place in Q2. We will have to work this evening to go over the data we collected in order to prepare setting tweaks for tomorrow’s FP2. We want to make the most of the available track time so our riders feel ready for qualifying and the Sprint. The track conditions will improve every session, and we expect to get stronger as the grip increases, as that plays into our hands."
The team head of the Yamaha MotoGP also highlighted that the delivery of the company's new, improved engine, which was tested in Misano, may take longer than predicted. "There is no different point of view, it was just a matter of communication. That was our mistake because we didn’t inform him of our expectations. What we gained from the Test is what we expected. The engine was quite a new one with a different character. I was satisfied because we didn’t have any issues, and basically, we confirmed what the expectations were, knowing we were already working on two different specs. One will be in Valencia, and the other one in Malaysia.”
The Yamaha team has fallen to the bottom of the manufacturer rankings alongside Honda and has been trying to recover the form that earned them titles in the past. As a result, Yamaha's top rider has become more frustrated over the course of the last several months.