Quartararo Fights Fiercely for Seventh at 2023 Qatar MotoGP
Fabio Quartararo made the most of his pace for Team ENEOS and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP at the Lusail International Circuit for the Grand Prix of Qatar, fighting his way through the pack to finish seventh. Teammate Franco Morbidelli had a tougher time, ultimately finishing 16th.
Starting P13 on the grid, Quartararo was 11th after the first lap and it took five laps to get past Marco Bezzecchi and nearly a second gap to the four riders fighting for sixth. Chasing Johann Zarco, El Diablo made his move at the midway stage, breezing past Marc Marquez to launch an attack on Jorge Martin for seventh.
Quartararo closed the gap on the riders fighting for fourth and was preparing to pass Alex Marquez on the final lap but came short of overtaking. He finished the race in P7, 0.208sec from the rider ahead and 7.828sec from the race winner.
“It was a good comeback and Race finish,” Quartararo said. “We were fast and had good pace, so I was able to catch up to the group in front really quickly. I knew I was faster than Marquez but couldn’t overtake him.”
Starting P18, Morbidelli had a clean first lap, pushing to 13th place. After six laps, he engaged in a battle with Enea Bastianini and relinquished his position, then losing a position to Joan Mir halfway through the race. The last half of the Qatar GP was an on/off battle with Raul Fernandez, and a loss of position to Augusto Fernandez in the final stages. Morbido crossed the finish line in 16th, 21.474sec from first.
“I expected a totally different kind of performance this race,” Morbidelli said. “The tires didn’t feel normal, and I was faster in the Warm Up with used tires from Friday and in hot conditions than with new tires in the evening while in race mode.”
Quartararo remained ninth in the overall standings following the Qatar GP with 167 points; Morbidelli also remained 13th with 93 points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP retained 7th place in the team championship with 260 points while Yamaha held fourth in the manufacturer standings with 187 points.