‘We couldn’t figure new items out’ - Quartararo goes back to basics with Yamaha

Aside from improved top speed which he claims is ‘still not enough’, Fabio Quartararo says that new items tested by Yamaha weren’t a step forward which is why he’s returned to a ‘basic set-up’ from the 2022 MotoGP campaign.
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha MotoGP Portimao 2023
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha MotoGP Portimao 2023

Quartararo chose to return to last season’s set-up on the final day of the Portimao MotoGP Test, after it became clear that ‘we couldn’t figure out the new items’.

That doesn’t mean Quartararo and Yamaha won’t use free practice in Portimao as an opportunity to test those parts further, however, the Japanese manufacturer’s back is very much against the wall. 

"We had a lot of new items, but on the last day went back to basics, back to last year’s set-up.," said Quartararo during the pre-event press conference. "We couldn’t figure it out, so we went back to last year’s set-up and it was better. 

"We’re in the same place as last year - maybe a bit better, with more top speed. But we must work to improve it. 

"The engine is the thing I asked for. We made a step forwards, still not enough. We are still far away from what we need in the bike."

After four tough days, three of which took place at the Sepang test, Quartararo made a significant breakthrough to nearly match the time of Francesco Bagnaia who finished fastest in Portimao.

But with the new items proving difficult to understand, and a lack of in-season development taking place over the course of his career with Yamaha, Quartararo can’t be expected to fight for the title with last year’s set-up given the struggles we’ve already seen him go through during the final ten rounds.

That’s why Quartararo has called on Yamaha to make the necessary in-season improvements this time around.

Quartararo said: "In the last day of testing I made a great lap, two in a row with good times. We are missing compared to Ducati. Everybody is on the limit and it’s about details. 

Fabio Quartararo, Portimao MotoGP test, 12 March
Fabio Quartararo, Portimao MotoGP test, 12 March

"We have to make steps during the year. Our weak point last year was that, as soon as we started the season, we had no evolution [with the bike]."

Quartararo ready for ‘super-intense’ schedule

Instead of 21 races MotoGP riders will have to contend with 42 after the addition of Sprint races at every round.

Knowing that physical demands have never been higher, Quartararo also confirmed that he’s made a step in that area compared to previous seasons. 

The Yamaha rider said: "Physically I have made a step, compared to last year. It will be hard, 42 races. This is the main thing to be ready for. The intensity this year will be much higher. FP2 this year is one hour, super-intense."

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