The 2021 MotoGP champion’s hopes of reclaiming the title are off to a dreadful start, made worse by the heroics of the under-pressure Franco Morbidelli on the same bike.

Quartararo only lost out on a second consecutive title on the final day of the 2022 season, where he out-scored Morbidelli by 248 to 42 points, but after two rounds of 2023 the roles are dramatically reversed.

We Need More Teams On The Grid! | Crash MotoGP Podcast EP83

“Quartararo is the one who’s in trouble,” Huewen said. 

“He’s not only struggling with his motorbike but, now, his teammate is out-scoring him.

“Quartararo is an emotional type of rider, he’s not steely. Stuff gets to him. He waves his hands about, throws his arms in the air, stamps his feet.

“Now he’s looking inwardly thinking: ‘How did Frankie get it so right, and we got it so wrong?’”

Peter McLaren, MotoGP editor, added: “His big problem is that he has qualified towards the back at both rounds. He gets held up. His race pace is pretty good.”

Morbidelli entered this season amid rumours that Yamaha would seek to replace him, potentially with Jorge Martin, in 2024.

But he romped to fourth-place in Argentina, one of the feelgood stories of the weekend.

Can he sustain this form?

“That’s what everyone is asking! He is trying to keep calm,” said McLaren. “But it was his best weekend since 2021.

“The track was low grip. It seems that Morbidelli does better in those circumstances than Quartararo.

“He’s transformed. Let’s hope it’s a turning point but it’s too early to say, for sure.

“They are definitely closer when there is low grip. The question is: when the grip level rises, can Frankie still be as competitive?”

Huewen added: “Most impressive, for me, was that he was aggressive. He was sticking it in there! You need confidence to do that.

“He looked like a changed man.

“He’s an intelligent fella, someone who thinks about every millimetre that he covers.

“Is he back? Given how aggressive and confident he was riding, I’d say yes.

“The bit I can’t fathom is how he went from zero to hero.”

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