Fabio Quartararo bluntly points out Yamaha’s key weakness: “We are not close…”

Fabio Quartararo delivers a brutally honest assessment of Yamaha's development at Qatar test

Fabio Quartararo, Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February
Fabio Quartararo, Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February

Fabio Quartararo insists that Yamaha are “not close” to solving their single lap speed.

The 2021 MotoGP champion was 10th-fastest on Monday, the first of two days preseason testing in Qatar.

A new year has brought new buoyancy around Yamaha but their star rider continues to deliver blunt realism about their progress.

Questioned about the ‘dino wings’ aero and the new exhaust he used on Monday, Quartararo explained: “It’s really important for us to find the way to make the bike more smooth, and to find grip on the time attacks.

“That’s where we are losing a lot.

“The pace is not too bad.

“We are making steps forward, making big changes on the bike.

“Hopefully we can find a way, really soon.”

Fabio Quartararo, Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February
Fabio Quartararo, Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February

Asked if significant progress could be made on Tuesday, the final day of preseason testing before the 2024 MotoGP begins on March 8, Quartararo was brutally honest.

“No, we are not close. Not close to achieving it,” he said.

“We have to be calm. There is still a lot of work to do.

“I am really motivated. I try to stay calm.

“The team is working a lot. I don’t know when.

“But this is the most important part of the bike - the rear grip, especially for one lap.”

Yamaha, who have added Alex Rins to their rider duo in Franco Morbidelli’s place, hope to arrest the dreadful slide experienced last season.

Massimo Bartolini, their new technical director recruited from Ducati, is widely considered to be an inspired coup behind-the-scenes.

But Yamaha know that may only have months (or weeks) to convince Quartararo that they can become competitive again in order to keep him long-term.

Quartararo’s contract expires at the end of this season and he will need to see significant strides in Yamaha’s development before committing to a new deal.

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