Quartararo’s secret to taming Yamaha M1: “Whining only makes it worse”

Fabio Quartararo believes he has “no real advantage” on the Yamaha M1 - and has explained the moment in 2022 when his mind-set changed to tackle his infuriating bike.
Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP, Malaysian MotoGP, 21 October
Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP, Malaysian MotoGP, 21 October

Quartararo’s 2021 MotoGP championship reign ended at the final round of the following year - despite once holding a 91-point lead to Francesco Bagnaia, he was usurped by the Ducati rider in part due to his underperforming machinery.

It was only Quartararo’s sensational talent that kept him competitive with such superior bikes, and he told  Motorsport-Magazin.com: “Two or three years ago, I would have absolutely agreed with you that we have a clear advantage in the corners. In my opinion, however, this is no longer the case. 

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“Ducati or other manufacturers are practically equally strong in this area. In 2019, for example, we lacked performance, they lacked turning. Now we still lack top speed, but they have become much stronger on the brakes and turning. 

“So we Yamaha riders have no real advantage at all anymore and therefore have to push ourselves extremely to the limit.

“Yes, it's a tough phase, but I see it as a positive experience for me that I can still reach my maximum despite these great difficulties. Nevertheless, I hope that Yamaha will make great progress soon and that we can become even faster.”

Quartararo knew he was entering 2022 with sub-par machinery which would make his first title defence extremely difficult, but decided by the fourth round of the season to completely change his mind-set.

“At the beginning of the season I wasn't happy because the bike practically didn't improve. But then I changed my approach,” he said.

“If you complain all the time, that's not good. It's not good for the team, but it's not good for yourself either. You then constantly have something in your head that blocks you. 

“The motorcycle may be bad, but by whining you only make it worse for yourself because you're wasting your energy on things other than riding a motorcycle.

“For me, it was the race weekend in Austin. That's when I completely changed. I said to myself: ‘You have this material now, so work with it’. 

“It's hard to go into a race you know you can't win. But that happens sometimes. You still have to give 100 percent and then see what comes out in the end. 

“Since then, my rivals know that they have to reckon with me if our bike is slow on a track. I will still give my maximum and fight. After all, it is in difficult times that you can learn the most.”

Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP, San Marino MotoGP, 3 September
Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP, San Marino MotoGP, 3 September

Quartararo: "Absolutely fine with only two Yamaha bikes"

Yamaha will have only two bikes in the 2023 MotoGP rider line-up - Quartararo and his teammate Franco Morbidelli - because satellite team RNF Racing is switching to Aprilia.

It is a stark difference to Bagnaia and his army of Ducati bikes surrounding him.

“No, I don't think that will be a problem for us,” Quartararo said. “We have also never compared data with the customer team this season. I don't know Yamaha's exact plans for 2023, but for me it's absolutely fine if we only have two bikes next year.”

The M1 gave nightmares to everybody who rode it last season except for Quartararo. Andrea Dovizioso retired early, Cal Crutchlow replaced him for the last handful of races, Darryn Binder has lost his MotoGP seat altogether and Morbidelli’s performances were criticised.

“It's a difficult situation. The other riders have problems, but for me the M1 is basically a good bike that just lacks a lot of acceleration and power,” Quartararo said. 

“I constantly push the Japanese engineers, because if we can eliminate this weakness, then every weekend we have the chance to fight for victory. This is often not the case at present.”

The former champion, still only 23, vowed: “What I love most about racing is the victories and the bikes themselves. So that would probably be the first two points. Since I started this sport at the age of four, I have loved racing. This has never changed over time and the change to different classes. 

“But MotoGP is obviously something very special. Especially if you are also successful. Racing is my passion, but I'm also an incredibly ambitious guy in general. Whether I'm playing Playstation or cards, I always want to win. It's just part of my life. I'm constantly in competition mode.”

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