Fabio Quartararo patched it up as usual. In fact, his Yamaha is the only one in the top ten with the sixth fastest time. Despite being three tenths down on Jack Miller's KTM, the Frenchman was once again able to make the difference, finding confidence with the M1.
However, the road seems to be far from downhill for the world championship runner-up.
“Happy but not happy – Fabio declared – I mean, I gave my best, I’m three tenths behind but… I’m on the limit. For sure we have one, one and a half tenths to be better but I’m sure if you ask all the other riders, it’s the same. So, at the end the distance is more or less the same. Right now it’s not enough. Because we are sixth.”
El Diablo knows that it is necessary to make a step forward.
“When I’m on the bike, I feel OK. But when I look at the others, I see that there is a difference in some areas, that we don’t have. But it’s good to work. I’m pushing Yamaha to develop. Because normally, as soon as we start the season, like last year, we finished. We want improvement, like the other brands. Ducati last year, all the time, you see that they wanted to improve – not for the next year but for the same year. In MotoGP, a tenth makes the difference, there are eight Ducatis and four Aprilias on the track."
Fabio is gearing up for the challenge on Saturday.
“I'll give my all as always, but I don't know what I could do. I think for them to overtake is more difficult than last year, because last year they could really pass so easily. This year maybe not, but in reverse for us it’s still so difficult for us to make an overtake. I will try to figure out a solution, but right now I prefer to focus on tomorrow’s qualifying, try to qualify well.”
So the spotlight at the moment is on the sprint race.
“If I really had to choose, I'd bet more on the long race than the sprint. However, we will have to pay attention to the conditions, because they will be different, especially in terms of grip and this could maybe help us".
In all of this today, Fabio found Marc behind him.
“Having him behind it hasn't changed anything. I pushed hard to give my best, considering that it was my first FP2 of the year. Then there were two red flags, especially the second, which slowed down the activity and the session lasted for a long time. When things like this happen in your unconscious you don't think about it, but you know they can happen to you too".
To conclude, Fabio then took stock of the situation from a mental point of view.
“Last year I started the season really frustrated, because Yamaha didn’t make an improvement for the 2022 season. This time however the story is different. It's true that we have to catch up here in Portimao, but right now, Yamaha did an improvement. It’s not enough, but we are working to do it. I feel stronger with the bike and we are trying to work to get to the level of our rivals"