Team ENEOS Powers Through at Malaysian MotoGP 2023
Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli put on an exciting show on behalf of Team ENEOS at Sepang International Circuit for the Grand Prix of Malaysia. The duo made it look breezy despite the sweltering heat, finishing the race in P5 and P7 respectively.
El Diablo had a good launch from P8, gaining a position on the opening lap. As the rider field pulled apart over the first five laps, he found himself in a group fighting for fifth. Under pressure by Fabio Di Giannantonio on lap 10, Quartararo held his ground and passed Jack Miller on Turn 11. With eight laps remaining, he only had a gap of less than a second to Bezzecchi and was able to pass him a few laps later. The Frenchman focused on maintaining his pace and preserving tire life since he was 6.633sec behind the top 4 riders. Quartararo finished in fifth place, 15.000sec from the leader.
“It was a great race from the start and first lap,” said Quatararo. “We lost a lot of tire performance because of tire consumption, but I’m happy. Top 5 was the best result we could get and the fight was a good mentality boost.”
Morbidelli started from P15 and was 13th by the end of lap 2. He continued to progress and picked up two more positions over the next two laps, creeping up on the back of Luca Marini as he tried to move into the top 10. They managed to latch onto a group of riders fighting for fifth by lap 10, then the Italian found the right moment to launch an attack on Marini. Brad Binder crashed out with nine laps remaining, allowing Morbido to move up to ninth. With a 1.435sec gap to eighth, he continued to fight, picking Di Giannantonio off with two laps to go. Mobidelli overtook Miller on the last lap to finish the race in seventh place, 18.553sec from first.
“This was a positive race since we were able to maintain consistency and recover lots of positions,” Morbidelli said. “The bike was working very well, and the team did a great job helping me to stay fast on the straight and be able to overtake.”
Following the Malaysian GP, Quartararo moved up to ninth in the overall standings with 156 points; Morbidelli is 13th with 93 points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is tied for sixth in the team championship with 249 points, and Yamaha moved up to fourth in the manufacturer standings with 176 points.
Team ENEOS heads to the Grand Prix of Qatar for the second to last round of the 2023 MotoGP season, held at Lusail International Circuit from November 17-19, 2023.