3 December 2020, Thursday | 03:14pm

'Roller coaster' track awaits SRT riders

2020-11-20

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) riders, Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo have different reasons to aim high at the season-ending Portugal Motorcycle Grand Prix this weekend.

With Joan Mir of Suzuki Ecstar having wrapped up the world title, there is arguably less pressure on the duo to perform at the Algarve International Circuit — better known Portimao — which is making its MotoGP debut.

SRT have already secured the top independent team title.

Morbidelli, who is on a roll at the moment, having won two of the last three races, including last week's Valencia GP, will be looking to end his season on a high by securing the top independent rider title this weekend.

The Italian, second in the overall standings on 142 points, said he enjoys the unique, undulating track at Portimao.

"I am really looking forward to the race in Portugal this weekend, where I rode an (Yamaha) R1 in a test before the French GP (in October)," said Morbidelli.

"It's a really nice place, it's close to the sea and the track is very different to most of the ones we visit normally.

"It's a bit like a roller coaster on tarmac as there are many steep hills. It's a tricky circuit to ride, so it's a really nice challenge to end the season with.

"It's great to be heading into this last race having won in Valencia. Hopefully we can really have a good final race of 2020. It would be a nice way to reward the team for their hard work."

Quartararo has been struggling since Le Mans and it has ultimately cost him the world title. The Frenchman hopes to rediscover the form that saw him win three races earlier this year.

"It has been a long time since I last rode at Portimao.

"I remember that the track is like a roller coaster, with an uphill section followed by a big downhill bit, so I am really looking forward to being there again," said Quartararo.

"It's a shame we couldn't bring the championship fight to this final round, but I want to have fun in this last race of the year.

"To do so, the first aim of the weekend will be to find the good feeling and speed that we lost since Le Mans."

Quartararo has not been on the podium since his win in Catalunya in September and he has dropped to fifth in the standings.

The 21-year-old is in his second and final season with SRT. He will move to the Monster Energy Yamaha factory team next season in a direct swap with MotoGP great Valentino Rossi.

Source: New Straits Times

 

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