It was a 1-2 in Friday free practice for the Yamahas of Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli, who at Mandalika are doing their best to take the M1 back to the top and above all to erase the bad Qatari memories. The reigning champion took first place ahead of his teammate by 0.030s and thus canceled a day that began with a few too many problems, which however the Frenchman managed to put behind him.
First place was not a surprise for him: “I knew from the tests that I could be almost here. I had a very good pace and I felt that I could do well. Of course, testing is different to qualifying, but I knew I could at least be in the top 5. But I’m very happy because we didn’t know the situation with the new asphalt. I am satisfied with the time attack but we need to improve on the pace especially in sectors 1 and 3.” The difference compared to two weeks ago is the grip, even if the feeling with the tires is still not at its best: “Compared to Qatar, I have more grip here, and I know that with the Yamaha more grip means more speed. We lose on the straight but we can do well here.”
Franco Morbidelli is on the same wavelength, sharing both the lack of harmony with the tires and the balance of a positive day with his teammate, but he was holding back on the enthusiasm:
“I went strong both this morning and this afternoon, both with used and new tyres. We know it’s only Friday, we need to understand how to improve and try to do it by Sunday. “And above all he is avoiding making any predictions in view of today’s times: “It is too early to say that we are the favourites, because it’s only Friday. We take the good things we have done, but it still cannot mean too much. We didn’t become discouraged in Qatar and we’re not getting too excited today. We just have to work. Of course I hope this is the real M1 of 2022, but it’s too early to tell”.
Regarding his situation and his return to the positions that count, Franco admitted: “That’s what counts, I have to do a good job and get back to fighting in the positions where I want to be. I want to get back to having anxiety to reach the podium on Sunday, and to do that I just need work and concentration. We are also doing a good job with Fabio. I want to continue like this”.