Petronas SRT satellite Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo admitted he was surprised by just fast he was on the opening day, with the rookie sensation topping the timing sheets in Thailand.
On the back of second and fifth place finishes in the last two races, the Frenchman was confident coming to Thailand, after finishing fifth in the Moto2 race at the same venue twelve months earlier.
Second to Maverick Vinales in the morning free practice one session, Quartararo went one better in the afternoon, going faster than his Yamaha stable mate by 0.193 seconds to post the fastest time of the opening day.
Quartararo said that the twisty nature of sector four, is where he and his fellow Yamaha riders are able to make up for the time lost down the long straights where the Ducati and Honda riders make their top speed advantage known.
“The normal run was really good,” said the 20-year-old.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect to ride this fast, and we have something to improve on the bike that maybe can give us one or two tenths, if we achieve what we really think about this setting, we will be really happy.
“If you look, first and second sector is only three corners. So, I think that’s why the, the powerful bikes are in front. But when you arrive to sector three and four, there are more corners, and I think the strong point of the Yamaha is the turning.”
Quartararo admitted that he fully expects MotoGP World Champion elect Marc Marquez to be strong come race day, despite the Spaniard suffering a scary looking crash in FP1, which saw the Honda man visit the local hospital for a check-up.
“We know that Marc will be strong, so we’ll need to keep concentrating on our pace because it’s not enough yet,” he said.
“We’ve got some good ideas to try though, and the team and I will work hard tonight on that.”