Quartararo “started with a bike I didn't try before”, Rins made “big mistake” on set-up

Yamaha team-mates Fabio Quartararo and Alex Rins try big set-up gambles during tough COTA weekend.

Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP, Grand Prix of the Americas, 14 April
Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP, Grand Prix of the Americas, 14 April

In trouble from the start of the COTA MotoGP, the Monster Yamaha team decided to roll the dice and run experimental set-ups throughout the weekend for Fabio Quartararo and Alex Rins.

In a sign of the factory’s new ‘risk taking’ attitude, Quartararo went into Sunday’s race with “with a bike I didn’t try before” while defending (Honda) event winner Rins ran a radical change from warm-up.

There was no breakthrough, but the team hope the information gained will pay off in the future.

“We can't be satisfied with today's results – there is clearly work to do – but we are sparing no effort,” said team director Massimo Meregalli.

“It was a tough race weekend overall but also a productive one. We have tried new things, and this data will help us as we prepare to make changes for the future.”

Quartararo took the team’s only points of the weekend with 12th place in the grand prix having fought back from 20th on the opening lap.

“It's a shame that Fabio fell back to 20th, because his tyre life was not bad,” Meregalli said.

“I went straight, unfortunately, on the first lap in Turn 12,” Quartararo, riding in his first event since re-signing for Yamaha, confirmed. “I lost a few positions but, to be honest, I expected worse. My pace was not good, but the drop of the tyre was not too bad.

“Maybe we could have managed a bit better position, but I think this weekend was all about trying many things, and we mainly focused on improving the bike. I started the race with a bike I didn't try before.

“This weekend was great because we basically tried many, many things. I think it's great for our experience. We know what we need, and having a clear direction to work towards is something positive.”

Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP race, Grand Prix of the Americas, 14 April
Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP race, Grand Prix of the Americas, 14 April

Rins meanwhile took a set-up decision based on the ten minute morning warm-up.

In contrast to his team-mate, Rins shot from 15th to 7th at the start, capitalising on some mayhem ahead, but he gradually slipped back and the heavy handling of his M1 eventually caught him out.

“The start was pretty good. It was quite nice. We recovered eight positions on the first lap,” Rins said. “But today in the warm up we tried a completely different bike to understand if that is the way that we need to go.

“In warm up we only have 10 minutes, and I didn't feel so much difference compared to yesterday.

“Maybe it even felt a little bit better releasing the brakes in the slow corners that we were struggling in yesterday. So, we decided to keep the set-up for the Race, and honestly it was a big mistake.

“Our bike usually is quite heavy on the direction changes. In the race, with this set-up, it was even worse, so I was losing time there.

“Then I made a small mistake in corner 15. There are some bumps on the track, and maybe I went over one bump with a little bit more pressure on the front brake, and then I lost the front.”

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