Quartararo Finishes Top 10 at Qatar GP 2022 Season Opener
The ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team had a difficult start to its 2022 MotoGP season at Losail International Circuit for the Grand Prix of Qatar. The 2021 world champion Fabio Quartararo and teammate Franco Morbidelli qualified rather poorly and weren’t able to storm to the front as they’d hoped. Both riders made a strong challenge but could only finish ninth and 11th respectively.
Determined to defend his Championship, Quartararo made up ground in the opening laps after starting 11th on the grid. He climbed to 8th on the first lap but struggled to defend the position, dropping to 10th. When Francisco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin crashed on lap 12, El Diablo returned to eighth and spent the remaining laps managing tire wear, crossing the finish line ninth, 10.543sec from first.
“We’d hoped for more from the first round, but couldn’t do better,” Quartararo lamented. “My job is to be 100% prepared and focused on each race, and I always give 100%, no matter what position I’m in.”
Morbidelli had a more difficult start from the middle of the pack, settling into 16th at the beginning of lap 2. He mostly rode solo, focusing on his race pace. After various crashes ahead of him, Morbidelli reached 11th by lap 12, holding that position all the way to the finish line, 16.712sec from first.
“It was a difficult race,” Morbidelli explained. “We struggled with rear grip, which prevented us from having a strong performance. I didn’t make the right moves during the opening laps, so I lost a lot of time, but things weren’t so bad after I picked up the pace. Giving it the maximum wasn’t enough to be on top this weekend, so we will push forward at Mandalika.”
After Round 1, Quartararo and Morbidelli hold ninth and 11th place in the championship, with 7 and 5 points respectively. Yamaha and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP are in sixth place with 7 points in the manufacturer championship, and also sixth place in the team championship with 12 points.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP heads to Mandalika Circuit for Round 2, the Grand Prix of Indonesia on March 20.