Fabio Quartararo: Yamaha ‘years away’ with electronics, ‘still not using full potential’

Fabio Quartararo says Yamaha’s new engine is a step forward but that the improvements made are still not enough.

Fabio Quartararo, Sepang MotoGP test, 6 February
Fabio Quartararo, Sepang MotoGP test, 6 February

MotoGP champion in 2021, Fabio Quartararo wants to contend for titles as quickly as possible, but it appears he might have to wait a bit longer.

The Yamaha rider was third fastest on the opening day of the Sepang test, and while the new engine was a step forward compared to 2023, Quartararo still feels a lot more needs to be done. 

Quartararo said: “Faster at the moment and I’m happy because the engine is better than last year. But we’re still not using the full potential of the bike.

“The character is way too aggressive and we’re not using our full potential of our bike yet.

“Today, we worked a lot on the electronics to try and find the best way to use our engine.”

So does that mean, well four more days of pre-season testing will take place before the season-opener, but Quartararo says winning races is not in Yamaha’s immediate future.

“Clearly, for me to fight for the victory it’s not enough,” began the Frenchman. “It’s not enough but there is a big difference between fighting in the top ten or for the top five in a lot of races.

“So I think that now we are in a much better position than last year, but we are still not a winning bike.

"We are working on it and I will not say that we will arrive soon, but the way we are working in the team with Max [Bartolini] (technical director) and Marco [Nicotra] - new head of Aero at Yamaha - who is more into the aerodynamics, it is from black to white.

"This is something great for Yamaha."

Quartararo and Yamaha grew into the 2023 campaign and by the season's end were in positions to regularly fight for top five finishes.

Part of the improvements they made in 2023 compared to 2022 were to do with the engine, but it’s also the electronics that need work, according to Quartararo.

“Electronics is where we are years and years away,” said Quartararo. “This is something that we still have to improve and of course, a little bit of everything.

“When there is no grip, which is typical for Yamaha, then the bike has zero grip.

Alex [Rins] also felt the same. This is something we have to improve.

"When the grip is great then the bike has a lot of potential. But when it is low grip condition we are really on the back. 

Although improvements still need to be made, the changes in approach have been significant and Quartararo admits this way of thinking needs to continue. 

"For me I love it because in the Shakedown and it was supposed to give us potential. To be faster, let's say. 

"But we had some technical issues and with Max, he said we won't give up and that we have to find a solution to make this item work. That's what we did.

"In the past, if it was just with the Japanese engineers it was maybe too risky so we stayed away. 

"This is the mentality that we have to have and play with the limit."

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