After the longest pre-season build-up in history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PETRONAS Yamaha SRT will finally take to the track at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto with riders Franco Morbidelli, who has recently re-signed with the team for two years, and Fabio Quartararo, for this weekend’s Gran Premio de España.
The PETRONAS Yamaha SRT pairing will have one day of testing on Wednesday to reacclimatise themselves with their machinery and perfect set-up around the 4.4km long circuit, which saw Fabio and Franco both start from the front row of the grid last year, with Fabio on pole.
The last time the duo used their Yamaha YZR-M1 machines was in the final pre-season test at Losail International Circuit, Qatar, where Franco finished the three-days second in the combined results with Fabio third fastest.
On-track action will begin with the one-day test on Wednesday, before the first MotoGP round, with the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT pair taking to the track for Free Practice 1 at 09:55 CEST/15:55 MYT on Friday, with Sunday’s race due to commence at 14:00 CEST/20:00 MYT.
It is great to start the season having extended my contract with the team, especially after the long wait for the first GP. The target is going to be to get used to the rhythm again and to be as fast as we were in the pre-season tests in Qatar and Malaysia. We need to get up to speed quickly as there isn’t too much time before the race on Sunday to get familiar with the bike again.
Every race in MotoGP is challenging but this one will be challenging for different reasons. It’s going to be the same for everyone though so there isn’t going to be any advantages or disadvantages for anyone. Last year I was able to start second and I was happy with the speed I had and my qualifying performance. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen this year!
Over the past few weeks I’ve been training a lot in Tavullia and I feel ready to go racing again. I’m just looking forward to starting again. I was looking forward to the start of the season in February and now even more!
Jerez is a track I like and last year I had my first pole position there, so I will be doing my best to get the best result possible. But we need to go step-by-step and build up the feeling before giving 100% in qualifying.
I’ve been cardio training a lot during lockdown and even in the last few weeks I haven’t trained a lot on the bike because I don’t want to take too many risks. I’m feeling prepared for the race though and I remember the last run I did with the YZR-M1 at the Qatar test was a race simulation and I was feeling confident.
I can’t wait to be back and have this great sensation again. The target for the test will be get back on the bike, get the feeling back and prepare for racing again. It’s going to feel so good to be back on the bike after such a long time without my race bike.