Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Struggle at 2022 Thailand GP
There were high hopes at Chang International Circuit for the ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team until Fabio Quatararo struggled after a nightmare first lap. He would eventually finish in 17th, with teammate Franco Moribdelli placing 13th.
All the teams had to endure a long wait before the start of the 25-lap race due to extremely heavy rain, along with a secondary delay as the result of a nearby medical emergency. Once the race got underway, El Diablo had a solid start from P4 but was pushed wide by Jack Miller in Turn 1. Although he tried to regain composure, Quartararo wobbled in Turn 4, costing him additional places, completing lap one in 17th.
Quartararo continued to struggle at Buriram, and while he was able to overtake a few times, he was unable to finish higher than 17th, crossing the finish line 34.072sec from first.
“Rain fell at the worst possible time and I didn’t get much wet track time before the start of the race,” Quartararo explained. “The first laps were really tricky and while I hoped to do better for the Thai fans, we’ll come back stronger in Australia.”
Meanwhile, Morbidelli had a solid opening lap in comparison, and while there was poor visibility, he defended his P14 starting pace and held it for the first lap. With other riders caught in tricky conditions, Franco made strides and moved up to 12th by lap 5.
The Italian would climb as high as ninth by lap 12 but had to switch to defensive mode in the final laps because of a strong challenge. He lost a few positions due to tire degradation as a dry line emerged but finished 12th. Unfortunately, He was issued a 3sec penalty that dropped him to 13th, 22.439sec from first.
“The first ten laps were the scariest experience of my life,” said Morbidelli. “There was zero visibility but thankfully nobody went crazy. Although I was fast I couldn’t overtake other bikes, so it was important to take a step back and bring the bike home safely.”
Following the Thai GP, Quartararo’s championship lead has dwindled to only 2 points with 219 total points; Morbidelli remains in 19th, now with 31 points. Yamaha is third with 224 points in the manufacturer championship and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is fifth in the team championship with 250 points.
Quartararo and Morbidelli head to Australia for Round 18, held at Phillip Island Circuit from October 14-16, 2022.