Quartararo: “A lot of years waiting for something big at Yamaha”

One year ago, Fabio Quartararo and Yamaha went into the MotoGP summer break leading the world championship with three wins and six podiums.
Fabio Quartararo, Dutch MotoGP 23 June
Fabio Quartararo, Dutch MotoGP 23 June

This time around the Frenchman sits just ninth in the standings with one rostrum from the eight grand prix races.

Meanwhile, Yamaha has dropped from second to fifth (and last) in the constructors’ standings.

“It's difficult because one year ago I won here [at Sachsenring] and now I am not even in the top 10,” Quartararo said at the German Grand Prix, where he finished both the Sprint and Sunday race in 13th place.

“So it's tough to really enjoy, but I have to try to stay calm, try to figure out what we can improve. But we are already almost halfway through the season, and we don't find anything yet.”

The Frenchman then went on to claim a Sprint podium at Assen the following weekend, after Brad Binder’s penalty, before suffering a fast fall early in the Sunday race.

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“A lot of years waiting for something big”

Like Honda, just seven points ahead of Yamaha in the constructors’ standings, there is already talk of Yamaha turning attention to making big changes for its 2024 machine - the lack of testing time and the limits on engine/aero development making in-season progress difficult.

“I mean, it's a lot of years that we are waiting for something big. A big change,” Quartararo, Yamaha’s 2021 world champion, responded.

“So hopefully they can really provide us a really, really good bike for next year.

“But it's difficult also to be confident when you are fighting for these positions… They work hard but we could not find any improvement.

“So hopefully they found the correct thing to make a step for the end of this year and for next year.”

Brad Binder, Fabio Quartararo, Sprint race, Dutch MotoGP 24 June
Brad Binder, Fabio Quartararo, Sprint race, Dutch MotoGP 24 June

Quartararo’s situation has obvious parallels with that of Marc Marquez at Honda.

The Spaniard recently revealed a meeting with the HRC president to spell out his concerns. Had Quartararo requested the same from Yamaha's Japanese management?

“I already had a meeting with the Yamaha president, so hopefully it's going to accelerate the process a little bit and [he] sees that we are really far from the top brands,” Quartararo revealed.

Yamaha Motor president Yoshihiro Hidaka attended this year’s Spanish MotoGP at Jerez.

“The president was there [at the track]. It was not planned but I asked [for a meeting] because my mentality is I'm a fighter, I want to win, I don't want to be in this position, because I think no one in the team is enjoying to be fighting for that.

“So I want to motivate everyone, try to turn this bad energy into a good energy and make a step, especially a technical step," Quartararo said.

Quartararo is the only Yamaha rider to win MotoGP races since former team-mate Maverick Vinales took victory at the 2021 Qatar season-opener.

2024 is the final year of Quartararo’s current contract, having raced an M1 since joining the premier class, with Petronas SRT, in 2019.

MotoGP is considering a tweak to its concessions rules in response to the current difficulties faced by Honda and Yamaha against the European brands.

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