Quartararo Rides On the Limit for Seventh Place at 2022 COTA MotoGP
The ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team fought extremely hard at the Circuit of the Americas for the Grand Prix of the Americas on April 10, 2022, with Fabio Quartararo riding on the limit for all 20 laps to finish seventh and earn nine valuable championship points. Teammate Franco Morbidelli started strong but received a one-point penalty for exceeding the track limit on the last lap, pushing him to 16th and without any points.
Starting from P6 on the grid, El Diablo stalked the lead group to gain a position, yet despite battling tough, he lost two positions in the opening laps, dropping to eighth place after lap five.
With Marc Marquez charging, Quartararo made the most of his YZR-M1’s cornering speed to overtake Johann Zarco to briefly take P7 before Marquez overtook him. During the last two laps, he put pressure on Marquez and narrowly missed clipping his rival when Marquez had a moment in Turn 6 with two laps remaining, briefly allowing the Frenchman to pass. Quartararo quickly regained composure and tried again in Sector 2 but ultimately finished seventh, 6.760sec from the lead.
“I had a bit of the same problems I experienced in Argentina during the beginning of this race,” said Quartararo. “We attacked really hard, even for sixth position, and I really enjoyed going against Marc! The weekend was a struggle but we learn more from these kinds of races than those I’ve won. We pushed ourselves to the limit, and now we fight harder for the championship as we head back to Europe.”
Morbidelli struggled all weekend and had a difficult race starting from P19. He gained a position but dropped back to 20th in the early stages. He found his rhythm to take P18 and eventually overtook Miguel Oliveira, Andrea Dovizioso and Luca Marini to move up to 15th place, which he held across the finish line, 29.129sec from first. However, Morbidelli was handed a penalty due to exceeding the track limit, pushing him to 16th overall.
“This was a tricky race because we used different settings during the warm-up and main race,” Morbidelli explained. “I needed to learn how to ride with these adjustments, lap-by-lap, and was able to overtake, so that’s positive. We’ll keep working to understand what needs to be done to become stronger by Portimao.”
Following the Grand Prix of the Americas, Quartararo sits in fifth while Morbidelli ranks 15th in the overall championship standings, with 44 and 14 points respectively. Yamaha and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP are in fifth place with 44 points in the manufacturer championship and sixth position with 58 points in the team championship.
Quartararo and Morbidelli head to Autódromo Internacional do Algarve from April 22-24 for the Grande Prémio de Portugal.