Quartararo bounces back from double gearbox issue to secure a Q2 slot at the Indian MotoGP

Quartararo bounces back from double gearbox issue to secure a Q2 slot at the Indian MotoGP

Fabio Quartararo overcame a disastrous opening practice to get direct entry into Qualifying 2 on Friday at the inaugural Indian MotoGP.

Fabio Quartararo fought back to earn a berth in Qualifying 2 on the factory Monster Energy Yamaha after a dismal start to the first ever Indian MotoGP.

Quartararo was hit by gearbox issues in FP1, with Quartararo’s two M1 machines encountering the same problem. The Frenchman could only complete ten laps for 19th place in the prolonged 70-minute morning practice after both of his M1s experienced gearbox issues on the straight.

As a precaution, Yamaha personnel also grounded teammate Franco Morbidelli’s bikes, but they were successful in resolving the problem for the afternoon.

“We lost a lot of time due to an issue related to transmission,” confirmed team director Massimo Meregalli. “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,” Meregalli added.

“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 2021 world champion put up a great effort during the afternoon’s 70-minute practice session, completing 29 laps and placing eighth, just.060 seconds off Luca Marini’s session-best time.

Quartararo helped make up for lost time and despite being nervous about the lengthy straightaways before the race, he placed as high as second in the final minutes of Practice 2.

“The day didn’t start super good,” said Quartararo. “I only completed about nine laps in the morning, so to learn this difficult track in the afternoon was not easy.

“Physically the track is not very tough, it‘s just the heat. I had to get straight into the game, and we achieved our goal of getting straight into Q2, so it was a pretty good day.

“Hopefully we can fight for a spot on the front three rows tomorrow and fight for a great result in the Sprint.”

Morbidelli, who finished 14th and dropped out of Q2, lamented the lack of a tow to assist him speed up in the afternoon.

“It was very hot out there. Apart from this, it was a good day,” he said. “I had good speed with used tyres and also in the first time attack.

“But things didn’t work out for us later on. Many rivals were able to improve.

“I improved a little, step by step, time attack by time attack, but it was not enough.

“I think I rode alone a bit too much today. I was confident in my own speed and didn’t get a tow.

“I think that would have been really helpful to get into the top 10.”

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