Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo was back in the fight against a pack of Ducatis as free practice fired up at Misano on Friday.
Sitting fifth in the combined times behind four Bologna bullets at the close of FP2, Quartararo’s 1’31.843 final lap placed the reigning champion just 0.006s behind fellow Frenchman Johann Zarco on the Pramac GP22.
While Ducati was clearly on the pace at its local circuit, the 23-year-old also had former teammate Maverick Viñales, and his new partner in crime Aleix Espargaro, for close company as less than half a second covered the top seven by the end of the opening day.
“My goal was always to fight for the best,” Quartararo said of his FP2 time. “Actually was good that we get the great pace, we are in the top five. Actually I didn't really care to be on top today but little shame that we could not have a great taste of the soft tyre this afternoon.
“Really happy with the medium,” he continued on his Friday workload. “With the soft we did a few mistakes - not only on riding but also in the box. I've made a really great pace, I'm pretty happy with used tyres, with the medium I managed to get 31.8, so basically the same lap time that with the new soft. Happy with the pace and for sure we will have some things to improve for tomorrow.”
While the afternoon proved successful, the Frenchman faced a few scary moments during the morning’s FP1 before topping the session outright.
“Basically soft front tyre was way too soft for us and it was a bit dangerous,” he explained. “I was getting a little bit angry because I knew it was just a matter of swapping the front tyre with the medium would have been better. So we decide to swap and was a great decision.”
With the threatening rain holding off for Friday, Saturday’s schedule could prove less lucky.
“The most important will be to be in the Q2 straightaway so at least if it's in a rain condition we will have less damage than last year,” Quartararo confirmed of day two’s initial goal. “But I think we make a massive improvement on the wet this year with the bike and myself. So it doesn't matter if it's on the wet or in the dry.”