PETALING JAYA: Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team rider Franco Morbidelli finally secured pole position by beating teammate Fabio Quartararo at the Catalunya Grand Prix in Barcelona.
It has been Quartararo who had taken full advantage of the Yamaha bike’s single lap superiority to stay ahead of Morbidelli for the entirety of the 2019 season.
But it is evident his Italian counterpart can go toe to toe with him not only in a race but in qualifying too.
Morbidelli, who bagged his first win in Misano two weeks ago, clocked 1:38.798 with Quartararo in second spot with 1:39.008.
Yamaha locked out the front row with Valentino Rossi celebrating his 2021 contract deal with Petronas by being the third fastest with 1:39.129.“To see that I was the fastest is a really good feeling. It’s always difficult to beat Fabio on a hot lap, so I am very happy about qualifying today,” Morbidelli.
“I was feeling great on the bike and I felt that I could push a lot, on both tyres as well. Now it’s a matter of trying to refine everything and we will try to make a good start.
“We have a good pace but there are many riders with similar pace to us.”
Having seen a victory from second on the grid in Brno wane due to tyre issues, the Barcelona track conditions will be relatively similar and tyres choice will be crucial.
“The pace was similar, so it will be important to choose the right tyres but I don’t know until warm-up.”
Quartararo is also feeling good about his chances of a podium finish.
“I’m really happy to be on the front row again. I think it will be really important to make a good start. I’m feeling confident on the bike and know the pace is there.”