Franco Morbidelli qualifies on the sixth row for the Japan Grand Prix

Franco Morbidelli qualifies on the sixth row for the Japan Grand Prix

The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider set the seventeenth fastest time in qualifying despite a late session crash with teammate Tom Luthi qualifying in twenty third position.

Sunny and clear weather came to the Twin Ring Motegi as Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Tom Luthi took to the 4.8km track for qualifying for the Japan Grand Prix.

Franco Morbidelli was 12th fastest in the morning FP3 session and set for a strong time attack in QP1. With two minutes remaining in QP1 Morbidelli was second fastest and then on target to progress to the QP2 session on his final flying lap when he crashed at turn 12. The Italian rider’s best lap of 1’45.969 placed him 17th on the grid.

Tom Luthi opened the day evaluating race set-up in FP3 and finished in 24th position although still looking for improvement. In qualifying Luthi went 0.2s faster than his previous best time with his fastest lap of 1’46.817 securing 23rd on the gird for the Swiss rider.

The Sunday morning warm-up will be at 9:40am with the 24 lap race which is round 16 of the MotoGP world championship scheduled for 2pm.


Franco Morbidelli: 17th, 1’45.969, +0.540, 37 laps, 177 km

“We have some adjustments to try on the bike for the race”

“Overall a much better day although we struggled a lot in FP4, it was quite difficult. Then for qualifying I used the hard tyre to try and gain something in braking but you have less grip on the edge and I lost the front going quite fast into turn 12. It is pity I didn’t finish that final fast lap. The starting position is not so bad and we have some adjustments to try tomorrow to make the bike better for the race.”

Tom Luthi: 23rd, 1’46.817, +1.388, 38 laps, 182 km

“I was hoping to make bigger step forward”

“I improved the lap time a little but it is not enough and I’m disappointed with 23rd position because I was hoping to make a bigger step forward. One issue today was that I had different feeling between my two bikes so we need to analyse what happened. In qualifying I didn’t feel like I had the bike under control coming out of the corners. We need to do another step and make the bike more rideable for the race.”