Regret expressed at Fabio Quartararo: “What could he have done on the Aprilia?”

“It would have been awesome, fantastic for the neutral to see him on the RS-GP next year"

Fabio Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo’s situation at Yamaha felt “ripe for a change” before he surprisingly committed to his underperforming team.

That is the view of MotoGP commentator Matt Birt who is left wondering how Quartararo might have fared at Aprilia.

Aprilia were credited with a serious interest in Quartararo but their offer to him was rebuffed in favour of a €12m-per-year deal with Yamaha.

“When you look at the riders in MotoGP these days, Fabio is top three with Pecco Bagnaia and Marc Marquez,” Birt said.

“It would have been great to see someone of his ilk move onto a new brand.

“I felt like it was maybe a great opportunity for Aprilia with Fabio looking to move onto a new package.

“But you can’t knock Fabio. Mid-20s… if someone comes along with that pay-packet, you take it.

“It would have been awesome, fantastic for the neutral to see him on the RS-GP next year.

“It seemed like a bike that would have suited Fabio’s riding style.”

Quartararo’s big salary and his esteemed reputation - coupled with the availability of bikes for the 2025 MotoGP grid - meant that his options were sparse.

Birt analysed: “The financial aspect has come into it.

“You wonder what Fabio’s options outside of Aprilia were?

“Ducati? Full house with so much talent. He obviously won’t want to leave Yamaha to go to Honda.

“KTM look like they’ve got all their seats secured.

“If he wasn’t able to make the numbers stack up at Aprilia, then he was only left with the option to stay at Yamaha.

“I like the loyalty side. He has spent his whole career at Yamaha.

“It did feel ripe for a change. As a neutral, I would have looked forward to what Fabio could have done on the Aprilia?

“At the moment, we know the Aprilia is a far superior motorcycle to the Yamaha.

“With the right man on board? Fabio can be a winning machine.

“But fair play to him. He has been sold the commitment over the next two years from Yamaha.

“Something, somewhere, aside from a skip full of cash, has convinced Fabio that Yamaha can turn it around. And, in a relatively short amount of time.”

Birt admitted his regret that MotoGP fans won’t see Quartararo immediately fighting at the front on an Aprilia next year.

“A little bit, I must admit,” he said.

“With all the murmurings around the paddock of a possible switch to Aprilia, I think we were getting excited that a big piece of the puzzle might be slotting in somewhere else.

“Now we know Fabio is buying the drinks in Austin on Sunday night! If the numbers are believed, a €12m payday coming the way of Fabio Quartararo.

“It’s huge for Yamaha. You can’t underestimate the importance of them keeping a rider of his skill and talent.

“I was with Lin Jarvis before we jumped on the plane to come to Austin. His word was ‘essential’.

“It was imperative that they kept him. They have had to dig deep into the cash fund but it could prove to be money well spent.

“It’s a massive leap of faith from Fabio. Yamaha are in a big, big hole. The bike isn’t competitive.

It’s massive trust that he’s put into Yamaha and their engineers.”

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