Yamaha: ‘We have work to do’, Morbidelli ‘working hard to find something’

Franco Morbidelli says Yamaha are ‘working hard’ to find more performance after a dismal opening round of the 2023 MotoGP season.
Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha MotoGP Portimao 2023
Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha MotoGP Portimao 2023

Morbidelli scored just two points from two races at the season-opener in Portimao, which took the factory Yamaha team’s tally up to ten after 2021 MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo scored just eight points himself.

Quartararo did manage to show strong race pace in both the Sprint and the main Grand Prix on Sunday, however, overtaking again proved a real struggle for the Frenchman. 

On the other hand, Morbidelli’s performance was much of the same compared to last season, which is the complete opposite of what he needed as it relates to his future with the Japanese manufacturer beyond this season. 

But with an immediate chance to respond at this weekend’s Argentina Grand Prix, Morbidelli is hoping to get his season off and running. 

"The positive thing about opening the season with back-to-back GP weekends is that we immediately have another chance to improve at the next track," added the Italian. 

"Last year‘s tyre puncture in the Argentina GP ended my race early. It‘s nice that this year we have a Sprint and a Race, so in a way I can make up for it by racing twice this year. We are working hard on finding something to improve our performance level."

Ducati, Aprilia, KTM and even Honda in the hands of Marc Marquez, all showed more performance than Yamaha in Portimao, which puts them on the back foot coming into the Argentine Grand Prix, a circuit where success for the Iwata-based brand has been limited. 

Team Director of the factory Monster Energy Yamaha team, Massimo Meregalli, was also keen to state that Yamaha need to do better, starting this weekend.     

"We travelled to the Termas de Río Hondo circuit immediately after the Portuguese GP. It was a long journey after the first round, but we are excited to be here and to be racing again this weekend," said Meregalli. 

"Last week‘s results show we have work to do, so this will be a busy week for us. In Portimao we were able to prepare the set-up for the Sprint and the Race already during the test. Here it will be trickier with the new GP weekend format. 

"We have to make the most of every single session, especially P2. It's the session that will likely be the most similar to the Sprint and the Race in terms of conditions. 

"This is important for the tyre choice and, furthermore, P2 grants access into Q2. We'll be very focused on improving our qualifying, because the outcome of both the Sprint and Race highly depends on the starting position."

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