Fabio Quartararo: “Before, when Franco Morbidelli was there, I didn’t dare”

Fabio Quartararo opens up on changing dynamic since Franco Morbidelli left Yamaha

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

Fabio Quartararo claims he has spoken more to new teammate Alex Rins after one MotoGP test than his predecessor Franco Morbidelli in four years.

Yamaha opted to ditch Morbidelli (he has since gone to Pramac Ducati) and replaced him with ex-LCR Honda rider Rins.

The manufacturer’s star man Quartararo has opened up about the changing atmosphere with a new teammate.

"With Alex, I felt very good," he told Motorsport.

"Basically I have spoken and had more contact with him in a test than with Morbidelli in four years. 

"As it is, that's what I think and that's the reality.

"It's nice to be able to go to the other side of the garage and talk naturally. 

"Before, when Franco was there, I didn't dare.

"With Alex, we have this rivalry, he wants to beat me and I want to beat him. 

"But I'd rather beat him by being first and him second than by finishing 10th and 11th.

"We have a riding style which, although not the same, means that the problems we have are the same."

Quartararo and Rins were able to be on track during the shakedown, as well as the official preseason Sepang test.

Quartararo was 11th-fastest on Day 3 of the Sepang test, +0.843s behind the leader Francesco Bagnaia.

Despite still being hampered by only running two bikes, the fewest of any manufacturer, Yamaha hope they can take advantage of new concessions rules to bounce back into contention this year.

Since winning the 2021 championship, Quartararo has fallen further and further behind due to his struggling M1.

He is now entering the final year of his contract, ramping up the pressure on Yamaha to deliver him a competitive package to keep him longer-term.

The swap from Morbidelli to Rins (who won a grand prix last year in Texas before breaking his leg in Mugello) could aid their development, Yamaha will hope.

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