PETRONAS Yamaha SRT look to come back strongly in Portugal
Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi begin European leg of 2021 season this weekend
This weekend will see the resumption of the 2021 MotoGP season, as action gets underway at Algarve International Circuit for the PortugueseGP. PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team riders Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi will be hoping to make progress and score valuable points at the first European round of the year.
Morbidelli showed good form at the inaugural MotoGP round at Portimão last year, starting on the front row of the grid after qualifying second and ending the race on the podium – having crossed the line third. Although the 2021 edition will be held several months earlier in the year than it was last time, the Italian will be aiming to improve on the first two races of the season and come away with a positive result at Portugal.
Team-mate Rossi will be hoping that the start of the European leg of the 2021 MotoGP championship will signal a return to the front of the grid, and allow him to put the troubles experienced in Qatar behind him. Although Valentino didn’t have the best of results at Portimão last year, he was able to recover places during the race and score valuable points (12th) – something he will be looking to improve this weekend.
Track action at the Grande Prémio de Portugal will begin for the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT pair with Free Practice 1 on Friday at 9.55am local time (4.55pm MYT), and end with Sunday’s 25-lap race at 1pm local time (8pm MYT).
After being on the podium in Portugal last year, I hope that we can regain our good pace and be in contention for a good result again this weekend. Every race is different though so we will have to wait and see how we are once we are out on track. We have the data from last year and we know that we were fast, so at least we will have something to use as a comparison. We are improving each race and we’ve been trying to understand what happened in the bike set up during our time in Qatar, hopefully we have found some improvements and can continue in a positive direction this weekend.
The Portimao circuit is fantastic, it’s something different to all of the rest, but on the other side of things, it’s very difficult. It’s a track that you need a lot of time to learn and every time you race there you can improve on something. We found some new settings on the bike on the Sunday morning warm-up session of the DohaGP, which meant that I was able to maintain a better pace but we were hampered for the bad starting position. We hope that we can be stronger at this third GP and be more competitive, but also in Europe as a whole – there are a lot of tracks there that are good for me.